Lawyers representing the Bronx teen who was seen being beaten by cops in a widely circulated video are demanding a special investigator take over the probe. At a hearing yesterday, attorneys for Jateik Reed told the Bronx DA's office their client would not sign an agreement requiring him to give sworn statements about the charges against him. But the DA is refusing to conduct an investigation into police brutality allegations unless Reed signs this agreement, and Reed's attorney, Gideon Oliver, tells us why they're advising Reed not to cooperate:
The DA explained to the court that they wanted our client to sign an excessive force investigation agreement which, among other things, would require Reed to give a sworn and recorded statement on the crimes with which he is charged and the allegations of excessive force. It would also require him to testify in front of a grand jury and waive physician-patient privilege.
But given the fact that the DA is prosecuting Jateik—and, more importantly, the symbiotic relationship between the DA and police department—we do not believe the DA is capable of conducting a fair and honest investigation. And it would be irresponsible for me to advise a client to provide several sets of sworn and recorded statements while he has criminal charges pending.
The district attorney's office released a statement yesterday saying, "We believe that at the end of the day, they will be comfortable with our ability to fairly handle this matter." But Oliver says, "For the DA to refuse to investigate unless Reed gives up his rights is an abdication of the DA's ethical obligations. The DA is responsible for investigating crimes. If the DA wants Reed to cooperate with this investigation they should drop the charges against him, instead of asking him to testify in front of a grand jury and give recorded statements on the crimes with which he is charged. And in Reed's case, the video speaks for itself. It's transparent, especially in a case like this."
We pointed out that the video doesn't show what led up to Reed's arrest and what kind of altercation might have occurred off-camera, and Oliver asked, "What kind of conduct would have justified beating him on the ground the way they did? Officers are trained in the use of force, and you're not supposed to use force on someone once they're subdued. Even assuming there's something more criminal left out of the video, that would have been included in the criminal complaint, and it's not. And even then it wouldn't justify beating him like a dog."
Reed was released on $10,000 bail yesterday, and faces a variety of charges, including harassment, resisting arrest and marijuana possession. But Oliver believes the drug charges were fabricated after the arrest in order to justify the beating. The officers seen in the video have been placed on modified duty pending the outcome of the investigation, assuming one takes place. "I pray the truth comes out," Reed's mother, Schuan Reed, tells the Daily News.