Weinstein Law Blog

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Because of Off Duty Cops Road Rage

Lawsuit Brought Against City for Sergeant’s Road Rage

In a case where an off duty cop's road rage could have led to the death of a civilian, a civil rights lawsuit has been filed in Manhattan Federal Court by The Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC.

In March of 2016, Mr. Arthur Berkovitz was traveling on the FDR when he was accosted by a Jeep with signs of road rage, i.e. flashing lights, honking horns, bottles thrown at his vehicle.  After multiple attempts to get away from the enraged driver, Mr. Berkovitz called 911.

After a period of time when the Jeep continued to follow and harass Mr. Berkovitz, he got off the FDR and attempted to flag down two members of the New York City Highway Patrol.  However, upon doing so, Mr. Berkovitz was tackled from behind and punched repeatedly by the driver of the Jeep.

Once the Highway Officers separated the driver of the Jeep from Mr. Berkovitz, the driver took out his NYPD gold Sergeant’s shield and identified himself as Sergeant Kavon Sample of the 40th Precinct, located in the Bronx.  Apparently, that was enough for the Highway Officers to decide that Mr. Berkovitz was at fault.

Mr. Berkovitz was dragged, handcuffed, and placed on a curb.  Additional officers were called to the scene, and not one of them spoke to Mr. Berkvoitz. Soon after, Sergeant Sample was allowed to leave the location and Mr. Berkovitz was given a ticket for Reckless Driving (VTL 1212, an unclassified misdemeanor) written out by Police Officer Carluce, someone who apparently directed by his superiors to write this ticket.  Mr. Berkovitz suffered significant injury to as a result the actions of Sergeant Sample and the Highway Patrol Officers.

The ticket was later dismissed by a judge, after Police Officer Carluce admitted to never witnessing any wrongdoing and being instructed to write the ticket.

Jacob Weinstein, who is representing Berkovitz, stated “if not for my client actively seeking help from the police, Sergeant Sample may well have killed my client.  This is an example of Police Officers wrongly covering up for each other at the expense of doing their duty.  As a result, my client has suffered significantly.  The NYPD failed my client.  This is due to a pervasive culture of a ‘us versus them’ mentality allowed for and encouraged by the City of New York.”

The case is Berkovitz v. City of New York et. al., 17-cv-03399 filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York 

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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.