The Ring on the Wall
Q: On a charge of harassment, I appeared in City Court. The court directed me to report to the police department for processing, and the police brought me to a holding area. They were about to handcuff my right wrist to a ring attached to the wall. I protested that I had recently undergone surgery on that wrist, to address my carpal tunnel syndrome. All the same, they went ahead. I believe that the manner in which I was handcuffed caused further injury to my wrist. An hour later, I was released from police custody.
A: Under section § 50-e of the General Municipal Law, the rule is that one should serve a ‘notice of claim’ within ninety (90) days after a claim arises. Do not delay in speaking to an attorney. According to the statute, the notice should set forth, among other things: the nature of the claim; and when, where and how it arose. The courts like to say that the test of the notice’s sufficiency is whether it includes information sufficient to enable the municipality to investigate the claim – whether, based on your description, municipal authorities can locate the place, fix the time and understand the nature of the incident. Your notice should identify, with clarity, possible culpable conduct by the police on a specific date and at a specific location.
Afterwards, the municipality is likely to summon you to a ‘50-h’ hearing. There, you will testify and, thereby, give the defendant an even more ample opportunity to investigate the incident. With respect to possible claims for false arrest and false imprisonment, the attorneys will be especially interested in the circumstances leading up to your arrest – i.e., whether the police were privileged in arresting and restraining you.
Most likely, there is audio/video footage of the holding area, in which you were restrained. Your attorney will want to see how the recording impacts on claims for intentional neglect of medical needs and for excessive use of force. Of special interest might be the location of the handcuff on your wrist, the degree to which the handcuff was tightened and any discussions that took place prior to the handcuffing – in particular, any in which you warned the police about your carpal tunnel issues.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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