A 25-year-old gay man has filed a lawsuit against the city and the NYPD, alleging that police officers shoved him to the ground, fractured his ribs, and yelled homophobic slurs at him on Christopher Street last June, while he was leaving the 2014 Pride Parade.
According to the suit, Jacob Alejandro, a health educator from Brooklyn, was leaving the parade with a group of friends around 7:30 p.m. last June 29th, when a police officer "forcefully pushed" him to the ground near the corner of Christopher Street and Weehawken Street. While Alejandro lay on the ground bleeding, one police officer allegedly yelled, "Get the fuck up you faggot." Multiple officers then allegedly "violently piled on top" of Alejandro and proceeded to arrest him, ignoring his requests for medical attention.
Alejandro's attorney Baree Fett told us this morning that, "Initially, Jacob had really bad scrapes and bruises on his elbows, and he felt really sore in his ribcage. He was in a lot of pain breathing in and out. I don't think he knew at that point how serious is injuries were. Initially, he really felt dazed."
Following his arrest, Alejandro was taken to the 6th Precinct, and then to Bellevue Hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his ribs, left arm, and elbows. Alejandro is also diabetic, and doctors measured his glucose levels to be high: about 311. From the hospital he was taken back to the 6th, and then on to Manhattan Central Booking. In total, he spent 24 hours in police custody. After he was released, Alejandro went to Coney Island Hospital for a follow-up, where he was diagnosed with a closed fracture to his ribs, according to the suit.
The Post reports that a criminal complaint filed after the incident describes Alejandro jumping over a police barrier and "flailing" his arms when police tried to arrest him. He was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, although all charges have since been dismissed.
"My client has experienced harassment before," said Fett. "He's a shy kid, but he feels strongly about this. This kind of behavior is beyond the pale, to have officers who are there to protect him behave in such an ugly, discriminatory way. Jacob wants to speak out, because he doesn't want this to happen to anyone, whether it be a gay person or a person of color."
"I have seen too much bias and bigotry from NYPD officers, and I hope my case makes a difference," Alejandro added in a statement.
The suit, filed against the City of New York, Lieutenant Jorge Tavarez, and ten other anonymous "NYPD officers, detectives, and supervisors," claims unlawful stop and search, malicious prosecution, unreasonable force, bias-based profiling, and failure to intervene on behalf of officers who allegedly stood by while Alejandro was beaten.
Fett said that in addition to monetary compensation, she is seeking injunctive relief for her client. "We want a declaration from the defendants saying, 'Yes what we did to Jacob is wrong,'" she said.
A court date has yet to be set, and the NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, 31-year-old Louis Falcone of Staten Island filed suit against the NYPD for $25 million, alleging that four officers shouted homophobic slurs at him while stomping on his head, neck, and ankle in June. The officers were responding to a noise complaint at Falcone's home.