A man who pled guilty to shoplifting shrimp from a supermarket was awarded $510,000 by a jury after he won a police brutality suit against the Brooklyn Police Department.
The whole ordeal began when Kevin Jarman, 50, was arrested outside a supermarket on accusations of shoplifting. According to Jarman, after he was placed in handcuffs the arresting officer yanked on the cuffs while Jarmon’s feet were in an awkward position. The movement caused Jarman to fall on the pavement, and he suffered a broken ankle as a result of the fall.
During the suit, Jarman testified that the officers added insult to injury.
“When I fell, they had a big laugh at my expense. They were all laughing out loud and they demeaned me,” Jarman said. “ [The officer] said he was going to videotape it and put it on Youtube.”
After hearing the facts of the case, an impartial jury rejected the officer’s claims that Jarman fainted and fell on his own. Attorneys for the city plan to fight the ruling.
Paul Edlund comments
I am somewhat surprised by way the story is being received by the general public. I understand that there is outrage that an alleged shoplifter ends up getting a huge payday, but the actions of the arresting officer are far worse than Jarman’s actions.
Let’s break it down. Jarman likely made an impulse decision to steal a $10 bag of shrimp. It’s a victimless crime in the sense that no people were physically harmed by his actions. I’m not condoning his actions, but in the grand scheme of things there are much more severe crimes.
Onto the officer. The arresting officer is specifically trained to professionally handle volatile and non-life threatening situations. Extreme force is one thing when it’s a life and death situation, but by all accounts, Jarman was not resisting and he posed no threat to the officer. He should be able to arrest Jarman without any issues. Instead, he decides to take the law into his own hands and serve some street justice to the suspect. He probably didn’t mean to break Jarman’s ankle, but that doesn’t excuse the behavior.
The bottom line is that police are trusted to carry weapons and uphold the law, and this officer abused his authority and broke a suspect’s ankle in the process. Jarman deserved to be compensated for his injury, plain and simple.
The NYPD has launched an internal investigation into the matter, but witnesses say what they saw was a clear case of police brutality and excessive force. According to a video obtained by the New York Daily News, a plainclothes officer approached 43-year-old Eric Garner on the street after the officer said he witnessed Garner illegally sell cigarettes.
Garner allegedly tells the officer he “didn’t do nothing” and asks the officer to “just leave me alone,” but that didn’t fly with the undercover officer. According to the video, two officers surrounded the 300-pound man, and while Garner talks with the cop in front of him, an officer swoops in from behind and places him in a chokehold. The scene quickly gets tense, and Garner can been heard saying “I can’t breathe” over and over. After a short struggle, the video shows a motionless Garner lying on the pavement. Garner was pronounced dead a short while later.
Regardless of whether or not the department finds the officer guilty of excessive force, it’s clear that his takedown method was a violation of protocol. According to the NYPD Patrol Guide, “Members of the New York City Police Department will NOT use chokeholds” or takedown techniques that put “pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed in on Friday saying, “We are harnessing all resources available to the city to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the circumstances of this tragic incident.”
Don’t hold out hope for justice, though. The Civilian Complain Review Board, an outside agency that investigates allegations of police misconduct by the NYPD, upheld only nine complaints involving chokeholds over the last five years, despite the fact that the NYPD Patrol Guide specifically outlaws chokeholds. During the same period, more than 400 other allegations were dismissed.
We’ll keep an eye on this case as it progresses. Garner deserves justice.
Related source: New York Times