JACKSON HEIGHTS — A homeless man who alleges he was roughed up by cops in Jackson Heights is planning to sue the city for $5 million, his lawyer said.
Charles Menninger, 47, sustained a deep gash in the back of his head and bruises across his body after cops beat him, according to his lawyer Kevin O’Donnell. He added that they were in the process of filing a claim.
The incident took place the night of June 1 and was also witnessed by sitting State Supreme Court Justice Thomas D. Raffaele, O’Donnell said. Justice Raffaele, 69, was karate-chopped on his throat by cops when he called 911 to complain about the crowd that had gathered to heckle their excessive behavior, the lawyer added.
Menninger’s lawyer, Kevin O’Donnell said his client was hanging out at the intersection of 74th Street and 37th Road in Jackson Heights, close to the subway station when he was heckled by a group of young boys.
Menninger, who is homeless and makes a living doing odd jobs in the area, then grabbed a piece of pipe to protect himself, when he was charged at by cops, who threw him to the ground, the lawyer said.
“The cops saw him holding a pipe,” described O’Donnell, adding they ordered him to drop it. “He was tackled, put on his stomach, he was completely compliant.”
The lawyer added that one of the officers also had a knee in Menninger’s back. A crowd gathered to heckle the officers’ excessive use of force, the lawyer said.
The altercation with the police has left Menninger with a deep gash at the back of his head, which requires staples. He has also sustained bruises throughout his body, according to his lawyer.
“This is disgusting, what is happening,” said O’Donnell, who said that the situation was totally uncalled for because his client was not arrested or charged with any crime that night.
Meanwhile, the Queens District Attorney’s office along with the Criminal Complaint Review Board and the Internal Affairs Bureau are looking into Justice Raffaele’s allegations of being struck by the cops in the same incident.