INWOOD — The relatives of an Inwood grandfather who was fatally shot by an undercover cop during a drug bust on Post Avenue will pursue a wrongful death suit against the NYPD, his family said.
Although police say the undercover officer shot John Collado, 43, in self-defense when he intervened in the arrest of his neighbor Rangel Batista, family members counter that the shooting is an instance of police brutality.
"We won't rest until his name is cleared," said childhood friend Juana Cruz, as she stood near a memorial friends and family set up outside the building where Collado was killed last Tuesday.
Although police reported that Collado had placed the undercover cop in a chokehold, a family lawyer said a surveillance video shows Collado never touched the officer.
Calls for comment to family lawyer Patrick Brackley were not immediately returned, but Brackley said last week the family was looking into a wrongful death suit during a press conference.
A letter dated Sept. 12 from investigators hired by Brackley's law firm was posted at the makeshift memorial asking for witnesses to come forward to help the case.
"He was the good kid in the family," said the deceased's oldest brother Pablo Collado. Collado was one of seven brothers and sisters.
Neighbors gathered Monday night outside the building preparing to hold another vigil in honor of the father of five and grandfather of a two-year-old, who was buried in the Bronx earlier that day.
They had planned to march from Collado's home on Post Avenue to the NYPD's 34 Precinct. That march was postponed to Saturday at 2 p.m. in order to gather more supporters.
"It’s been hard to get everyone together while the family is in mourning," said family friend Araiza Cruz in Spanish.
Juana Cruz, who has lived on Post Avenue for more than 30 years, said she hoped the simple and peaceful march would send a signal that the neighborhood has banded together to seek justice on behalf of the family.
"We need to be united, we need all of you," she said. "We cannot do this alone."