DA Bragg: NYPD Officer Indicted In Sixth Precinct For Brutally Punching Homeless Man
By THE VILLAGE VIEW
On May 24th, NY County District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the indictment of Sixth Precinct Police Officer Juan Perez for Assault in the Third Degree. This is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum possible sentence of up to one year in jail.
According to court papers, on Nov. 10, 2010, Perez and his partner came upon a “standoff” between two men and a third man on MacDougal Street in the West Village. The third man, Borim Husenaj, was reportedly drunk, homeless and throwing water on passersby. He was holding a liquor bottle over his head and told the officers that the other men were harassing him.
Body camera footage shows Husenaj was speaking in a “rambling and disjointed” way and Perez removed the liquor bottle from his hands.
According to the indictment, “during this rambling speech, the defendant (Perez) radioed for an ambulance, stating in substance that this was not an EDP (emotionally disturbed person) job, but rather someone who was intoxicated. Later testing would show that Mr. Husenaj was indeed intoxicated, but all objective evidence makes clear that he was also in the throes of a serious psychiatric crisis.”
A sharp exchange of words followed after Husenaj refused to sit in a chair. Shortly thereafter, according to court papers, Perez shoved Husenaj against a wall and attempted to handcuff him but did not explain why. The two briefly struggled and Perez fell on top of Husenaj. It was then that Perez punched Husenaj in the face six times. The punches knocked Husenaj unconscious, broke his nose and left his face bruised and swollen, according to court papers. He remained unconscious for at least one minute. Husenaj was taken to the hospital with a broken nose and “significant swelling,” according to the Manhattan D.A.’s office.
Perez has now been charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with one count of Assault in the Third Degree. District Attorney Alvin Bragg introduced the charges, stating: “As we allege, the defendant’s assault caused the victim to suffer substantial pain. Police officers are often put in challenging situations, but they must use their training appropriately and treat the residents of New York City with respect.”
According to Bragg’s office, the case against Perez will be prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Karl Mulloney-Radke, under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Nick Viorst (Chief of the Police Accountability Unit). Perez has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his lawyer James Kilduff told the court that his client “categorically denies the allegations.”
The indictment comes at a time of heightened concern about the way police treat people with mental illness, following a directive by the mayor last year allowing emergency responders to transport presumed mentally ill people to hospitals involuntarily.