A Queens Village widow plans to take on the NYPD after she claimed two officers forced her husband to walk half a mile home in the cold for identification after stopping his van and he had a heart attack on the way.
Doris Hudson could not hold back her tears as her story about the death of her husband was told to reporters at a news conference at the office of City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) at 113-43 Farmers Blvd. Monday. She said the pain has been too unbearable for her and her family.
Two officers stopped Hudson’s husband Robert, who like his wife was 72, on the afternoon of Jan. 14 because she was not wearing her seat belt and he walked back home to get her identification when ordered by the police, according to Bonita Zelman, the widow’s attorney.
On the way to his 213th Street home, roughly half a mile away, Robert Hudson suffered a heart attack and died later at Franklin Hospital on Long Island, the attorney said.
“They took away my partner, my soulmate, my best friend,” Doris Hudson said.
Zelman said she plans to file a wrongful death suit against the Police Department for Robert Hudson’s death and contended the two 105th Precinct officers — Dominick Lettieri and Julio Orozco — who stopped the van, put their summons quota before common-sense policing.
“It is time now that we hold these officers ... accountable for their actions,” she said.
The NYPD had a far different version of the incident than what Zelman claimed, according to their records. The officers never ordered the Hudsons to go home and get the identification for the summons, according to a spokeswoman for the Police Department.
“To the contrary, they told both parties that they had sufficient ID at the scene. Nonetheless, Mr. Hudson insisted on returning to his residence to retrieve additional documents for his spouse, for whom the summons was already written by the time he returned,” Deputy Inspector Kim Royster said in a statement.
Zelman stood by her client’s story and said Robert Hudson would not have left the van in 20-degree weather without reason. The officers used intimidation tactics to get the elderly man, who never had an arrest record, out of his van, according to the attorney.
“We do not need police officers (who) act in depraved indifference to human life,” she said.
Comrie and Councilman Ruben Wills (D-S. Ozone Park) also backed Hudson’s claims and said the NYPD should apologize to her for her husband’s death. Both elected officials called for more sensitivity training for officers to avoid ruining the NYPD’s relationship with the community.
“There was no part of this incident that met with any police guidelines,” Comrie said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2011 Community News Group
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