The NYPD sergeant who pushed a handcuffed 14-year-old through the window of a Bronx hookah bar could face disciplinary charges now that the Civilian Complaint Review Board has determined he used excessive force. Sgt. Eliezer Pabon nearly killed 89-pound Javier Payne on May 17th, 2014 after arresting him inside the Hookah Spot on Arthur Avenue in Belmont on suspicion of punching a man. The glass pierced Payne's lung, lodged in his windpipe, and took four hours of surgery and 50 stitches to fix. Payne spent four days hospitalized. Charges against him were later dropped.
The Daily News reported the latest on Pabon.
The sergeant has already been stripped of his gun and badge, but Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson declined to prosecute him, in part because an expert determined the glass had a crack from an existing hole, and was not the shatter-resistant safety class required for commercial businesses. A report by Johnson's office cites Pabon and a witness saying that he did not intend to break the glass. The witness called it "a freak accident."
"Based on the evidence and the requirements of the law, there was no criminality that could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," office spokeswoman Terry Raskyn said. "The standards of the New York state penal law and the CCRB are different."
The CCRB has investigative powers but its penalty recommendations are purely advisory. Its finding of excessive force means that the NYPD will hold an internal hearing about how to punish Pabon, or whether to punish him at all. In 2014, the CCRB substantiated 327 of 4,778 complaints. The Police Department disciplined 102 officers in the same period (PDF). Of those, 22 were hit with administrative charges, the most severe type of intra-department punishment. The charges can result in officers being docked vacation days, fined, or at their most severe, fired.