February 15, 2014

Like a Bad Penny

On Tuesday, United States District Judge Roslynn Mauskopf issued a ruling that sharply criticized NYPD officers Javier Velez and Konrad Zadiewicz for fabricating evidence and lying to the Court, and suppressed the seizure of a gun from one Martese Price. This case will likely now be dismissed for lack of evidence. If the name Javier Velez seems remotely familiar to visitors to this site, it is because he is one of the officers Lumer & Neville received a $560,000 verdict against in Davis v. City of New York. In that case, Velez also lied about seizing of a gun and was soundly spanked by a civil jury. While Judge Mauskopf does not referennce the Davis case, she cited to a prior criminal case in which Velez's credibility was questioned by Senior District Judge Raymond Dearie, as well as a CCRB ruling against Velez that rejected his testimony as "weak."
One question that comes to mind is whether any of this will matter one whit to the NYPD. The NYPD's see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to personnel management has been indefensible; it results in deliberately unconstitutional conduct on the street which tarnishes the NYPD's reputation, damages community-police relations, and costs the City of New York many millions of dollars every year.Put differently, it is reasonable to wonder how many times will judges, juries, and disciplinary bodies, have to listen to Velez testify and then conclude he's a liar, before the NYPD is willing to at least take a look at his performance. In our experience at Lumer & Neville, we have become accostomed to seing plaintiff after plaintiff, strangers to each other, naming the same officers time and again. Yet, by all appearances, the NYPD seems wholly unconcerned.  In most jobs, being successfully for misconduct, having federal judges publicly call you out for lying, or costing your employer hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits, are the sorts of things that get you fired. Or at least trigger a performance review. But not the NYPD. Let's see if new management will see it any differently.

No comments:

Post a Comment