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Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

In SDNY As Bronx Security Guard Describes Beating By Police Video Father Took Evaded Discovery

By Matthew Russell Lee

NEW YORK CITY, February 1 – It was just another night in The Bronx: a young man who worked as a security guard hailed a gypsy cab by the 174th Street elevated train station of the 2 and 5 lines to drive him to his girlfriend's house, sat in the backseat talking with her on Face-time on the way.

Then, as recounted on February 4 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the cab was pulled over on Boston Road by an unmarked New York Police Department car which turned its siren lights on. The young man, James Hurt Jr., was told to end the phone call and get out of the car. He did, but then he says he got pushed by one officer and then got punched in the face three times by NYPD Sargeant Michael Connizzio.

In the SDNY courtroom of Judge P. Kevin Castel, Hurt Jr. on Monday at 5 pm acknowledged that after being punched, he ran.  But before that he said the police explained their search of him for guns as, "You are the tenth," meaning they were randomly searching every tenth Bronxite they encountered.

   Earlier in the afternoon his father Hurt Sr., a New York City Corrections Office, has recounted how he picked his son up and rather than waiting for a New York City ambulance drove him to St. John's Hospital in Yonkers. He took photographs of his son's injuries, lacerated face and mangled hand, he said. Then he said yes, he had filmed a video.  

The proceeding stopped. The video had not been turned over to the defense as part of discovery. Judge Castel asked if the video was still on Hurt Sr. phone. He wasn't sure - his phone had been held downstairs, just like Inner City Press'. Judge Castels' deputy went down to get it. What do it?   

After the jury was let go for the evening, one of them lingering to leave a note about a potential conflict of interest, Judge Castels directed Hurt Sr. to email the video to his son's lawyers and to the defense counsel. One of them pointed out that the minute and a half video might be too large to e-mail, that Drop-Box or Google Drive might have to be used. Hurt Sr. was told to go to his son's lawyers' office and download it, but not to talk with them about the case.

There were not other journalists in the courtroom, other than Inner City Press. This case (Hurt JR. v. The City of New York et al, 1:15-cv-07612-PKC) was not deemed high profile or Of Interest. Just another night in The Bronx - but for this nearly overlooked video. Watch this site.

Upcoming in the SDNY is a just-filed complaint by the Bangladesh Central Bank for the $81 million hacking of its funds, which were then wired through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a case that Inner City Press will cover. Times change. Watch this site.


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