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Simpson, a black 17-year-old Queens Village resident, claimed he was beaten by the plainclothes officers as he was crossing Murdock Avenue in Cambria Heights while he was on his way to his girlfriend's house. He said he suffered a broken left wrist and fractured his elbow in the beating. The suit, filed in Brooklyn federal court Jan. 3 by civil rights attorney Norman Siegel and co-counsel Earl Ward, contends that the officers violated Simpson's civil rights by using excessive force, engaging in an unconstitutional strip search and unjustifiably arresting the teen on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Deputy Inspector Stephen O'Brien, the former commanding officer of the 105th Precinct, said shortly after the incident that police questioned Simpson because he was walking in a robbery-prone location and contended that the teen became combative with the cops. He claimed Simpson was giving inconsistent answers to the questions, noting that he said he was going to his girlfriend's house but was walking in the opposite direction.Simpson is seeking $5 million from the city and $5 million from the four officers. Only two cops, Sgt. Omar Castillo and Sgt. Holochuck, were identified in the suit; the other two were listed as John Doe and Richard Roe.At a news conference outside the 105th Precinct station, Simpson said the June 9 beating was still haunting him. He said it was the psychological effects of the attack that have caused more suffering than his physical injuries."When I see a police car, I get frightened because I don't know what might happen," Simpson said. "I can't do physical activities because I may damage my wrist."Siegel said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown decided not to charge the officers in the attack, but that would not deter him from seeking other avenues."We are not giving up in the prosecution of the police officers," the attorney said, noting that he and Ward will pursue the possibility that the U.S. Justice Department could bring charges against the four cops.Simpson's case preceded the controversial police shooting of Richmond Hill native and bridegroom Sean Bell, who was killed in a hail of gunfire outside a Jamaica strip club."As everyone has said Ð enough," Siegel said, referring to police brutality.He said the solution would be for New York to establish a special statewide prosecutor to look into allegations of police misconduct.The attorney said he was cautiously optimistic that Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Lt. Gov. David Paterson and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would take steps toward creating that special prosecutor.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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