Family Seeks Justice for Alleged Brick Thief Run Down by Cops
BROOKLYN — The family of a man who was run down by a police car after he allegedly stole bricks from a Canarsie housing complex demanded the city preserve evidence from the incident and release the names of the officers involved, their lawyer said Tuesday.
Tamon Robinson, 27, died six days after he was struck by an NYPD cruiser on April 12 at the Bayview Houses. His family hired high-powered civil attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who said at a press conference Tuesday that he filed court papers the day before to prevent the destruction of evidence so Robinson's family could ensure justice is done.
"The circumstance of that [incident] has a lot of unanswered questions," Rubenstein said. "Simply put, something doesn't seem right."
Robinson was allegedly swiping bricks from 1550 E. 102nd St. when cops arrived on the scene around 4:45 a.m., police said. He then took off running for the building, where he lived, and was chased by a patrol car that pursued him onto the walkway, witnesses said. He was struck steps from the front door.
Witnesses told DNAinfo that police on the scene pulled Robinson from under the car, yelling "Wake up! Wake up!" before bouncing him off the hood.
Jay Schwitzman, Robinson's criminal lawyer, said it took 30 to 45 minutes before ambulances arrived.
"I think [the police officers] were trying to figure out what their stories would be," Schwitzman said about the delay. "I think they realized what they did was wrong."
Robinson's mother Laverne Dobbinson described her son as a nice, hardworking man.
"He was a good kid," Dobbinson said. "He was hard working. He did not deserve it."
Both police and fire officials initially said Robinson's injuries were non-life threatening. However, Dobbinson said doctors told her he was "non-responsive" when she arrived at Brookdale Hospital.
Doctors told the mom that if Robinson was brought in earlier, they could have saved his life.
"If they would have brought him when the incident happened they could have saved him," a teary-eyed Dobbinson said.
The cause of death was complications resulting from blunt impact injuries to the head, the Medical Examiner's office told the New York Times.
The Times reported that Robinson's friends said he had had permission from the complex's management to take the bricks, but family members and lawyers did not comment on that Tuesday. They only said Robinson sold bricks to distributors as a side job.
"Even if he was at this time stealing paving stones, the penalty for stealing paving stones is not death," Rubenstein said.
Family said that Robinson was on his way to work at Connecticut Muffin in Fort Greene when the incident unfolded.
Dobbinson said she wasn't notified by police about her son until the following afternoon. She said police knocked on her door that day asking if she heard anything about the incident, but she was not aware her son was involved.
Lawyers did not comment on whether they will file a lawsuit.
"What the family really wants is justice," Rubenstein said. "Right now the family is focused on justice."
Rubenstein said that the Brooklyn's District Attorney's office is investigating, and the family is seeking witnesses.
But for Dobbinson, dealing with her son's death is the hard part.
"It's so hard for me right now," she said. "He was such a delightful young man. It is very hard for me right now."
The NYPD and the city's Law Department did not immediately respond to calls for comment.