Court’s mediation program credited with quickly settling cases vs. NYPD
By Ryan Thompson and Samuel Newhouse
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
and The Associated Press
BROOKLYN — A career criminal who was shot by Brooklyn cops will receive $150,000 from the city.
Andre Raphael had sued the city for $10 million, saying the May 31, 2011, shooting violated his civil rights, despite having been shot immediately after trying to rob someone.
"The matter has been amicably settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties,” said Raphael’s attorney Bruce Baron of Sheepshead Bay.
The settlement was reached after a mandatory mediation session, and Baron credited the court’s mediation program designed last year to settle civil rights cases filed against the city and the New York City police department.
“I would like to commend the Chief Judge [Loretta Preska] of the Southern District for implementing the Section §1983 Plan, which was instrumental in the resolution," Baron added.
In fact, Baron said that Raphael’s case was one of the first cases to be resolved through the court’s Section §1983 Plan, which is designed to unclog the court’s calendar and attempt to settle cases that allege excessive force, false arrest or malicious prosecution by employees of the NYPD in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983.
Raphael, 24, who pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted robbery and assault charges last month, was shot in both thighs last year. Police say Raphael has 26 prior arrests and during the incident in question, Raphael indicated he had a gun during an attempted robbery.
The victim fled, flagged down a police officer and pointed out Raphael. The police officer responded and shot Raphael.
A city lawyer said police officers acted appropriately because they believed Raphael was armed and reaching for a gun when police approached him. The lawyer agreed that the settlement was in the best interest of both parties.
Raphael, who remains remanded in jail awaiting sentencing on Thursday in Kings County Supreme Court, had originally claimed that he was shot by police for no reason as he walked on a Bedford-Stuyvesant sidewalk.
Police “unjustly riddled plaintiff with bullet(s) as he was a pedestrian on a Brooklyn sidewalk,” states Raphael’s complaint filed in October.
Baron said last year that video surveillance of the incident shows Raphael walking down the block before a police car screeches to a halt in front of him without activating its sirens, just before shots were fired on Raphael.
“One of the benefits of living in this great country is that everyone has the protection of the Constitution — and no law enforcement has the right to bypass a citizen’s due process and attempt to impose unlawful deadly physical force,” Baron said at the time the lawsuit was filed.
The May 31, 2011, shooting of Raphael occurred around 4 a.m. while Raphael was walking at the intersection of Malcolm X Boulevard and Putnam Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Moments before, and a few blocks north, a 36-year-old male at Malcolm X Boulevard and Gates Avenue had flagged down a police car and said someone had just tried to rob him at gunpoint.
“Yo yo yo, you know what time it is? Give me all your money. Don’t run or I’ll kill you,” Raphael told the would-be victim before gesturing at his waistband.
Police said in initial reports that one officer, an eight-year veteran, got out of the car and ordered Raphael to drop his gun before seeing him reach for his waistband, which caused the officer to fire one shot, which went through Raphael’s right and left thighs.
Raphael claimed in his lawsuit that the police car had no emergency sirens or lights on when it abruptly zoomed into the crosswalk in front of him, and that no police officer said anything before the shot was fired. Raphael claimed he jumped out of the way, fell on his back, and then was hit in the right and left thighs.
Raphael reportedly had no weapons on him at the time he was apprehended, although police later found a 9mm handgun in a nearby sewer duct. Police also said Raphael had hidden three small bags of cocaine and five rocks of crack cocaine in his body cavity that were found at the hospital.