In a series of quick orders, Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment this week to New York City police officers who shot Mauricio Jaquez at least five times, including in the back of the head, at his apartment in the Bronx. They said he came at them with a knife; the forensic evidence showed otherwise. The trial scheduled to begin on Monday has been adjourned. Judge Forrest has so far not explained her decisions except to say that the City of New York and the officers’ motion to exclude the plaintiffs’ medical expert was granted and the grant of summary judgment flowed from that.
The trial court’s decisions will be appealed to the Second Circuit which previously reversed Judge Forrest after she accused Mr. Jaquez’s widow of abandoning the case. The reason that time? The widow never got court mail that was sent to a homeless shelter where she and her three children were forced to live after her husband was shot and killed by the police.
This time, plaintiffs, represented by the Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, opposed the City’s last ditch effort at summary judgment (which ultimately succeeded in the district court). The forensic evidence and the defendants’ contradictory statements are both complex and compelling; here is how we summed them up:
In short, with or without expert testimony, a reasonable finder of fact could find that the defendants acted unreasonably in forcibly entering the apartment when only Mr. Jaquez was inside, then trying to break a hole through the kitchen wall, screaming at Mr. Jaquez, Tasering Mr. Jaquez as he walked down the hall unarmed, beating him with a ballistic shield when he retreated, Tasering him two more times, hitting his right forearm and stomach with rubber bullets, Tasering him again, then opening fire, shooting him from above and denying him medical attention until he was certain to die.
For more information on the Estate of Jaquez case or on excessive use of force by the New York City Police Department, call our office at (212) 685-0999.