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Bayside civic leader Frank Skala said he and the city have agreed to a $7,500 settlement in an excessive-force lawsuit he filed a year after being removed from a 111th Precinct Community Council meeting in October 1998.
Skala was removed by Capt. Anthony Lubrano, then-commanding officer of the 111th Precinct, after Skala interrupted the meeting several times to argue points of order and voice his opinion that the councils leadership was illegitimate, the TimesLedger reported at the time.
A few days later, Skala filed a complaint with the citys Civilian Complaint Review Board, which substantiated his claim in May 1999. Skala filed a $1.8 million lawsuit in October 1999.
Skalas attorney, Peter Redmond, confirmed that the city agreed March 6 to pay Skala $7,500.
In a letter to the CCRB after the incident, the outspoken president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association said he had to see a doctor for injuries caused by Lubrano.
He cant bodily pick up a senior citizen, which is what he did, Skala, 65, said this week in describing Lubranos actions. Hes a lot taller and younger and stronger than me, and he heaved me out of the room. Lubrano retired in December 1999.
I wasnt looking for money in the first place, Skala said of the settlement, characterizing the lawsuit as an object lesson for police who would do what Lubrano did.
Neither the Civilian Complaint Review Board nor the 111th Precinct had any comment on the settlement.
Sol Soskin, president of the 111th Precinct Community Council, told the TimesLedger after the dustup occurred that Skala was not grabbed by the wrist as Skala had said.
He was asked nicely. They took him under the arm, Soskin said.
Applause broke out after Skala was removed from the meeting, the newspaper reported.
Skala told the TimesLedger at the time that he had been repeatedly asked to leave the meeting but refused.
Years after the incident, the civic leader maintains his opposition to the precinct council leadership.
It was a closed group, a clique that didnt want any input from reformers, Skala said.
He charged that the group still needed to take meeting minutes, produce financial reports and address more serious crime issues.
We do work with the community to get a lot of things done, Soskin responded Tuesday. We are not police officers.
Soskin, who remains the president of the group, said the Police Department no longer required term limits for council officers.
He also said he had advocated for increased manpower at the 111th Precinct and that the council had organized youth activities.
As far as the Police Department is concerned, we have a legitimate council, we are doing pretty good and we are held in esteem by the Police Department, he said.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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