Judge Pushes Court Claim He Was Attacked by Police
A Queens Supreme Court justice is suing the city claiming that an unidentified New York City police officer struck him in the throat in June 2012 after he and other bystanders watched the officer repeatedly ram his knee into Charles Menninger, who was already handcuffed and on the ground.
Supreme Court Justice Thomas Raffaele (See Profile) filed a $300,000 lawsuit, Raffaele v. City of New York, 13-cv-04607, in the Eastern District in August. His complaint calls the incident "an unprovoked and vicious attack" that denied him "his basic civil rights and allowed culpable individuals to escape accountability." The suit alleges excessive force, conspiracy and a civil rights violation.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown opted not to file charges against the officer, and Raffaele, who sits in the civil term, sharply criticized the decision (NYLJ, Aug. 23, 2012). The defendants include New York City, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, several police officers, Brown and two assistant district attorneys.
The city said in its answer that the judge's rights were not violated and any injury was due to his "own culpable or negligent conduct." It maintained that the prosecutors were immune from suit.
An initial conference is scheduled for Oct. 23 before Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky. The case was assigned to Judge Kiyo Matsumoto after Judge Nicholas Garaufis recused himself. The city has asked Matsumoto to consolidate motion practice, discovery and the trial of Raffaele's suit with a pending civil rights lawsuit filed by Menninger.
Raffaele is represented by Barak Cardenas of Cardenas Islam & Associates in Jamaica. Assistant Corporation Counsel Virginia Jackson Nimick represents the city.