A man has sued the New York City Police Department over an incident captured on video in which an officer allegedly pepper-sprayed him several times, the Daily News reports.
Stefon Luckey, 34, an emergency medical technician, alleges in the suit filed in federal court in Brooklyn that he was assaulted at a deli last May in the St. Albans section of Queens after four officers followed him inside.
On video, the incident begins with an officer pushing the 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound Luckey along an aisle and against a store shelf. Two officers step away, and one of those remaining with Luckey raises a can and squirts something in Luckey’s face. Luckey covers his eyes and staggers to the rear of the store.
Less than a minute a later, an officer returns and sprays him in the face a second and third time. Luckey is then seen standing with his hands behind him. Two officers handcuff him without any resistance. With Luckey in handcuffs and standing still, an officer squirts something in Luckey's face a fourth time.
Luckey said the officers followed him into the deli after his brother was pulled over for making an illegal U-turn. He said he was told to move along after remarking on the incident. That’s when he entered the deli and was followed by the officers, who told him he was under arrest. He told the News that the spray came out when he asked why he was under arrest.
He was charged with disorderly conduct, but the charge was ultimately dismissed, the report says.
“It came as a surprise to me,” Luckey told the News. “I think they were just trying to bully me.”
The New York City Law Department, which handles most of the city's legal affairs, and the NYPD declined to comment.
Luckey alleges that officers failed to return $200 in cash and his ID when they gave his wallet back to him, the News says. His lawyer, Philip Hines, told the News that the incident is under investigation.
“When police officers such as these show callous and obvious disregard for the civil rights of the public, it undermines all of the great work done by the vast majority of the NYPD,” Hines told the News.
Read more at the Daily News.