Articles Posted in False Arrest

Published on:

Recently, in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, there have been protests in major cities across the United States. An upstate woman and two New York attorneys were arrested and charged in federal court with crimes relating to their alleged throwing of Molotov cocktails at police vehicles during the protests in Brooklyn. However, most protestors arrested in New York City are charged with Desk Appearance Tickets in state court, and are typically charged with some combination of the following crimes: Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree (Penal Law 195.05, a Class A misdemeanor), Assault in the Second Degree (Penal Law 120.05, felony assault on a police officer, a class D felony), Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree (Penal Law 120.20, a Class A misdemeanor), Resisting Arrest (Penal Law 205.30, a class A misdemeanor), or Disorderly Conduct (Penal Law 240.20, a violation). (Note: the charge(s) listed on the Desk Appearance Ticket are not necessarily the same as the charges that will appear in court on the actual criminal complaint – in fact, the number of charges usually increases from the Desk Appearance Ticket to the actual court complaint).

Oftentimes, in these cases in which no one was injured, a protester-defendant could – with the help of an experienced attorney – successfully negotiate a plea bargain whereby the protester will have no criminal record and spend no time in jail (such as an “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal or a violation like Disorderly Conduct). In cases involving Desk Appearance Tickets, such negotiations may even be possible prior to the return date (i.e. the first court appearance). However, for reasons relating to principle, many protester-defendants refuse to accept any such deal, preferring to demand dismissal or a trial where their voices can be heard by a jury. Such an attitude is certainly understandable but it does tend to increase the risk of a negative result (such as a permanent criminal record).

Unfortunately, some protests escalate into confrontations with police officers. In those cases, charges like Assault in the Second Degree can sometimes be levied against arrested protesters alleged to have injured police officers. That charge is a serious felony that can carry real jail time, and should not be treated lightly at all. The best defense in these cases is often to argue that the defendant did not act unreasonably, and that any injuries to the police officer were sustained on account of his/her own aggressive or improper actions. In today’s current climate, that argument can have real traction with some jurors.

Published on:

The recent jury trial acquittal of The Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo client Jesse Dailey was discussed in an article in the Brooklyn Paper. A juror described the jury's deliberations.

Brooklyn Paper, February 1, 2016: "Jury finds accused "Park Slope Groper" not guilty"

Published on:

Last night a rookie police officer shot and killed a 28 year old unarmed man named Akai Gurley as he was walking down a staircase in East New York’s Pink Houses. New York City Police Commissioner Bratton described the police shooting as “unintentional, ” and the result of an ‘”accidental discharge.” Whether or not this is actually the case remains to be seen; as we’ve seen first-hand in the cases of our victims of excessive force and police brutality, the New York City Police Department is usually quick to cover themselves with self-serving statements.

According to Mr. Gurley’s girlfriend, Melissa Butler, Mr. Gurley did absolutely nothing wrong and was merely walking down the stairs when the rookie cop gunned him down. Why the officer felt the need to even unholster his firearm is unknown.

Mr. Gurley’s estate will undoubtedly have a compelling civil lawsuit against the officer and the City of New York for the violation of the innocent man’s constitutional rights, as well as claims for wrongful death and quite possibly negligent training. A police officer CANNOT use deadly force unless the officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others. In this instance, Mr. Gurley appeared to have been violating no law whatsoever, and the police officer who shot him is going to be hard-pressed to demonstrate that he posed a threat to his or anyone’s safety.

Published on:

The Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo recently settled the federal civil rights lawsuit of a foreign doctor and his wife who were wrongfully arrested at a restaurant in New York City for allegedly assaulting a police officer. MG represented them both in the criminal case and were able to obtain dismissals of all charges by presenting numerous sworn eyewitness statements to the prosecutor, who agreed to the dismissals. MG then filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for wrongful arrest on their behalf, and the matter recently settled for a significant amount of money.

Published on:

MG recently settled the federal civil rights lawsuit of an individual wrongfully arrested in Brooklyn for allegedly possessing a weapon. His friend – with whom he was arrested – is currently facing charges of felony weapons possession and attempted murer, but we were able to demonstrate that our client had been wrongfully accused. The matter settled for an amount that was satisfactory to the client.

Published on:

Generally speaking, an offer of an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (“ACD”) to resolve criminal charges is usually an attractive plea bargain offer to a criminal defendant. After all, pursuant to New York CPL 160.50, individuals receiving ACD’s usually have their cases dismissed and sealed and deemed nullities after six months (or one year in marijuana cases). However, acceptance of an ACD can have negative consequences concerning possible civil lawsuits for wrongful arrests.

As explained in one recent case in federal court, Freedman v. Monticello Police Department, 2003 WL13571 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (Buchwald, J.), acceptance of an ACD precludes a civil action against police officers (or the municipality that employs them) for malicious prosecution. The reason for this is that an element of the tort of malicious prosecution is a “termination in favor of the accused,” and although an ACD is not an admission of guilt or a conviction, it is not considered to be a “termination in favor of the accused,” either.

That being said, that case also explained that an ACD does not preclude a plaintiff from succeeding on a false arrest claim, as that tort does not require a “termination in favor of the accused” as an element. So, the bottom line is that acceptance of an ACD can have some negative impact on the potential recovery in a lawsuit, but it is not fatal to the possibility of successfully recovering damages.

Contact Information