NEW YORK CITY, NY – A Brooklyn protester who was shoved by an NYPD officer during the spring 2020 protests following the death of George Floyd has settled her federal lawsuit against the city for $387,000, including an out-of-pocket $3,000 payment by the officer.
Video of Dounya Zayer being knocked to the pavement on May 29, 2020, near the Barclays Center by Officer Vincent D’Andraia went viral as the city and country experienced daily demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis.
Rotated @JasonLemon's video of a NYPD officer shoving a protester to the ground pretty violently right in front of a bunch of cops, including a senior officer of at least a lieutenant or above based on the white shirt. pic.twitter.com/q8icXDrWAP
— Matt Ortega (@MattOrtega) May 30, 2020
According to the lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court:
“(Zayer) suffered and continues to suffer significant severe physical and emotional injuries, including possibly requiring surgery, disfigurement, permanent disability and inability to walk and ongoing treatment.”
When the 20-year-old fell, she struck her head on the pavement and suffered a seizure. Zayer’s attorney, Tahanie Aboushi, said the rare order for the officer to pay personally was important:
“You can never put a number on what happened, and the trauma and emotional toll it had on Dounya. It’s important that he is held accountable, and he shares some responsibility for what happened.”
D’Andraia was suspended without pay after the shove and his commander was transferred to a different unit, according to the NYPD. He was also charged with third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree harassment, and third-degree menacing.
Zayer said the officer meant to injure her when he shoved her, and that the attack happened without provocation:
“He wanted to hurt me. Without provocation, he wanted to prove a point that he could hurt me, and he did. A two-handed shove, and you could see his whole weight was in that push. I was off the ground entirely. I came out of my sneakers.
“The amount of force involved shows how much anger was involved in this assault.”
The City will pay Dounya Zayer who was brutally shoved to the pavement by #NYPD Officer Vincent D’Andraia during a 2020 protest, $387,000.
NYC has paid more than $1.1 billion for NYPD misconduct since 2015.https://t.co/S3puxDwrjk
— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy – Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) February 1, 2022
She said she was backing up from the 28-year-old officer during protests when he knocked a cellphone out of her hand and struck her without warning:
“I was not expecting to be hit at all.
“There was definitely anger in his voice when he called me what he did. The fact that he called me a name is proof his intention was there. And I’m small. He knew the size difference.”
The Queens resident filed the legal action to hold the city, the officers on the scene, and the NYPD accountable for alleged excessive force, assault, and free speech violations, according to the suit.
Dounya Zayer says she is suing the NYPD because they are “still capable of doing what they did to me to other people.” https://t.co/8VSKsj8Uu3
— THE CITY (@THECITYNY) December 15, 2020
She claimed the officer called her a “stupid f—ing b—h,” and that other officers in the area failed to assist her:
“There was definitely anger in his voice when he called me what he did. The fact that he called me a name is proof his intention was there. And I’m small. He knew the size difference.
“Officer D’Andraia insulted me and then assaulted me. There were hundreds of officers around and not a single officer stopped to help me.”
The city refused to represent D’Andraia in the case but did have to agree on the. D’Andraia was covered by a city-financed union defense fund. Nicholas Paolucci, a city Law Department spokesperson, said the settlement “was in the best interest of all parties.”
D’Andraia’s union lawyer did not respond to a request seeking comment.
D’Andraia, pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges and is scheduled to go on trial starting March 2 in Brooklyn Criminal Court.
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Lawsuit: Democrat Oregon governor unlawfully commuting prison sentences, freeing nearly 1,000 inmates
January 22, 2022
PORTLAND, OR – Two Oregon district attorneys and the relatives of three homicide victims have filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Kate Brown (D) of unlawfully freeing nearly 1,000 prisoners by granting clemency.
Lawsuit: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown unlawfully commuting prison sentences https://t.co/MzLpWlGkB8
— KGW News (@KGWNews) January 21, 2022
Gov. Brown stands accused of ignoring victim rights while granting clemency to inmates, Lane County District Attorney Patty Perlow and others argued in a legal petition filed Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit primarily seeks to stop the early release of more than 70 people who committed crimes as juveniles, including murder, and are now eligible for parole under an executive order, and to force the Governor to follow clemency rules.
The lawsuit argues:
“Convicted criminals must initiate the process to seek forgiveness and state their case by demonstrating remorse, rehabilitation, and a desire and capability to reasonably re-enter society.”
Throughout the pandemic, the Department of Corrections provided Brown with lists of inmates who had less than six months on their sentence and met other conditions for early release.
The lists, according to the governor’s office, were designed to identify medically vulnerable inmates and move them out of congregate facilities where COVID-19 has frequently spread.
Perlow, along with Linn County DA Douglas Marteeny and four surviving victims, are asking the court to compel Brown, the Oregon Department of Corrections, the Oregon Youth Authority, and the state’s parole board to “comply with the law.”
JUST IN: Two Oregon district attorneys and the relatives of three homicide victims have filed a lawsuit accusing Gov. Kate Brown of unlawfully freeing nearly 1,000 incarcerated people. https://t.co/aWxmzxwk1o
— KAPP-KVEW (@KAPPKVEW) January 21, 2022
The suit claims that the Democratic Governor failed to provide victim notification of the prisoner releases as required by clemency procedures. Monique DeSpain, a lawyer for the Kevin L. Mannix Salem-based law firm, which filed the case with Common Sense for Oregon on behalf of the plaintiffs, said:
“We are asking that the court compel the governor to follow the laws that are already in place.”
He argued that the pace of the clemencies demonstrated a disregard for sentencing laws in place:
“When they’re granted to the rate of nearly 1,000 commutations, then really it becomes a rewriting of sentencing laws.
“That is a lot of commutations that have been handed down.”
Kevin Mannix, a former chair of the Oregon Republican Party, leads both the law firm and Common Sense.
The lawsuit accuses the Governor of breaking rules requiring individual commutation applications and unlawfully delegated her responsibilities to state agencies. DA Martenny said the legal action was not personal:
“This lawsuit is not personal on my . I believe our laws put limits on (Brown’s) actions. I am working to enforce those limits.”
State prison officials told Oregon Gov. Kate Brown would need to release around 5,800 inmates to create enough social distancing inside their facilities to significantly reduce COVID-19 risk. She's commuting the sentences of 57.https://t.co/Df5a8GMTKS pic.twitter.com/cN0LikyvUJ
— JPR News (@JPRnews) June 26, 2020
Gov. Brown commuted the sentences of 912 people in custody who were deemed at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a June 2021 letter she sent to state lawmakers.
Those freed were medically vulnerable, had completed at least half their sentences, and were not serving time for crimes against people.
Brown also commuted the sentences of 41 people who fought the Labor Day 2020 wildfires that scorched the state in 2020., according to the June letter, which is cited in the lawsuit.
Those released did not “present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community,” the letter claimed.
Aliza Kaplan, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor involved in clemency applications, said the Governor’s actions were proper:
“The law is very clear on the governor’s power to grant clemency. She’s using it in the exact way it was intended by our founders,” Kaplan said. “There’s precedent for granting group clemency. It’s unfortunate that we have to all waste our time talking about this lawsuit.
“She’s using it in the exact way it should be used. These people have been punished significantly, and even in a place like prison, they have managed to rehabilitate themselves, and the governor is offering them mercy.”
Gov. Kate Brown announced a second round of early releases for individuals incarcerated in Oregon prisons who are medically vulnerable to COVID-19 or within two months of release, this time commuting the sentences of 66 people https://t.co/Y7rHeLjoCI
— Prison_Health (@Prison_Health) October 1, 2020
The lawsuit also addresses concerns over offenders now made eligible for commutation for violent crimes they committed as juveniles.
In 2019, Oregon passed a law eliminating life sentences without parole for youth offenders. It also allowed them another hearing to review their case after serving half their sentences.
Following the law’s passage, the Governor signed an executive order allowing it to apply retroactively to juveniles convicted between 1988 and 2019.
The move has been criticized by multiple Oregon district attorneys, who called the move dangerous and traumatizing to the victims of their crimes.
The Governor’s Office declined to comment on the pending legislation.
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