A judge has overturned the verdict of one of the more notorious cases of police brutality and ordered a new trial: In 1999, police shot Gidone Busch of Borough Park, Brooklyn, 12 times. Police claimed the Hasidic man was charging at them with a religious hammer while his family charged they were using excessive force and later sued the city for unspecified damages. Busch had a history of mental illness, and other witnesses contradict claims that Busch had gotten very close to the police. A jury found the police not guilty of excessive force in the 2003 trial, but U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson overturned that verdict, doubting the testimony of the police and one witness.
The NY Times article about the overturned verdict notes that since the shooting was of a Hasidic man, the case did not draw the same kind of outrage as the Amadou Diallo shooting, where a Bronx man was shot 41 times. This remind Gothamist of the film we saw earlier this year, Every Mother's Son. It's a documentary about the mothers of Busch, Diallo and another victim of excessive police force, Anthony Baez. The documentary put a more human face on stories that are splashed across newsprint and worked as both a cautionary tale about police force and a story about strength and healing as the mothers, Doris Busch Boskey, Kadiatou Diallo, and Iris Baez work to fight for their sons' memories and help others. The film, which was recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival (where it won an audience award) and on PBS's POV, has a great site at PBS; there was an August update about the Busch case - apparently a juror was sleeping through the entire trial, another had ties to the police - and Busch Boskey's push for another trial.