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Sergeant In Bellevue Shelter Stomped On Homeless Tyriek Gladney Partner Does Not Recall

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 27 – At the Bellevue homeless shelter on Marcy 6, 2017 the supervising police sergeant Cordell Fitts ended up punching, kicking and stomping on a homeless man's head 11 times, Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller on August 26 told a jury presided over by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams. Then, Rossmiller said, Fitts falsified a report to obstruct a federal investigation into this use of force.

  On August 27 the report(s) were shown to the jury, along with the video. The government says it will wrap up with a summary witness on August 28.

   Cordell Fitts, still working in law enforcement, has a publicly funded Federal Defenders team. On August 27, FD's Jonathan Marvinny cross examined DHS Officer Feng, who repeatedly said "I don't recall."

  After the jury left, AUSA Rossmiller said that Feng's failure to remember means he can't really be impeached. The Federal Defenders were directed to e-mail the prosecution and Judge Abrams the names of any expert witness.

  Judge Abrams on further reflection and citing case law including about cocaine on fish pallets in Brooklyn found that Gladney having bit a person after the incident was not idiosyncratic enough, or not as much of a signature M.O. as the cocaine on the pallets.

  Two EMTs, both now firefighters, testified about the discrepancy between the report held by FDNY and that held by Bellevue, which added the diagnosis Schizophrenia added. Neither had Gladney saying he went off his meds, which Fitts had Feng put in his / their report.

  After the government finishes on Wednesday and the defense the same day, closing statements are set for Thursday. And perhaps a jury verdict before the Labor Day weekend. But which way will it go? Two more Federal Defenders were in the gallery on August 27. And Inner City Press has requested the exhibits. Watch this sight. 

  Inner City Press' research finds that Cordell Fitts was a defendant in a case the City of New York settled, in which he was accused in in the same shelter on September 22, 2016 of abusing a homeless man after telling him "'he did not give a f***,' was not a doctor and ordered Plaintiff to do as he was told." US v. City of New York, Cordell Fitts, et al., 17-cv-4587 (Broderick), settled Aug. 21, 2018. More on Patreon here. We'll have more on this.

   On August 16 there was a pre-trial hearing that Inner City Press attended and was surprised to find both that Fitts, employed by NYC Department of Homeless Services, has free Federal Defender lawyers and that these publicly funded lawyers said on that date - contrary to Marvinny's August 26 opening that they intend to "put on trial" the homeless recipient of these blows, including with what he told EMS and doctors.

   While referred to as Victim-1 in early filings, on August 16 the parties repeatedly referred to the victim as Tyreek Gladley (phonetic). The Federal Defenders called him psychotic, or a paranoid schizophrenic; the government put up not much defense of him. He himself was not present.

 Judge Abrams read out a number of erudite decisions on motions in limine, allowing in a video of the incident but also some "character evidence" about the victim. There will be only two alternates, for a trial projected to last one week.  Jurors will be asked their views on mental illness. Apparently those opposing police brutality will be excluded. Inner City Press intends to be there as much as the calendaring of other SDNY cases permits. Watch this site.

  Albert Jiminez-Gonzalez pled guilty in April to selling more 400 grams each of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. His bail was revoked and he awaited sentencing, which took place on August 9. He had more than 20 friends and family in the courtroom of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams, and she noticed.

  Jiminez-Gonzalez said his months in jail have taught him to be a better son and uncle and neighbor. He faced 57-71 months under the Sentencing Guidelines, a book that earlier on August 9 Circuit Judge Richard J. Sullivan demonstrated to drug defendants Tyquan Robinson before saying he may well do an upward departure from the 10 year mandatory minimum.

  The difference appears to be Robinson's involvement with a gun, with a gang, and even his rap lyrics. Jiminez-Gonzalez, with a different vibe and different trajectory it seems, got 24 months and a full five years of Supervised Release. He asked to be designated to Fort Dix in New Jersey. Robinson, on the other hand, had his sentencing and probably upward departure postponed. Inner City Press will continue to cover these cases.

Wander Reyes came to the US from the Dominican Republic three years ago and tried to find work. What he found, and on July 30 was sentenced to 30 months in prison for, was a conspiracy to try to rob 15 kilos of heroin using, among other things, a fake police car.

  Before SDNY Judge Gregory H. Woods, Wander Reyes emphasized that he is young and this just sort of happened. Judge Woods, usually moved by defendant's statements, took issue with this one. These things do not just happened, he said, mention zip ties and fake guns.

  Assistant US Attorney Celia V. Woods added an arrest of Wander Reyes for the rape of a 12 year old. Judge Woods said there has been no conviction so he would not give that weight. Wander Reyes' defense lawyer Zachary Taylor argued among other things that since Reyes will in all probability be deported after he serves his time in US prison, he won't pose a danger "to Americans."

  Still, even while Judge Woods said he expects an ICE detainer to be filed against Wander Reyes, he imposed three years of supervised release. Will New York State proceeding on the rape of 12 year old charge while Wander Reyes is in Federal prison, or wait? Or just forget about it? Inner City Press will continue to follow these cases. This case is USA v. Wander Reyes, 19-cr-192 (GHW).

Back on July 23 with the courtroom nearly full for a mere scheduling proceeding for Michael Avenatti, three stories beneath a man was pleading guilty and agreeing to 87 months in prison in an nearly empty courtroom. There were only Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald and her deputy, one Assistant US Attorney, defendant Polanco, his interpreter and his lawyer - and Inner City Press. The allocution was not as smooth as it might have been.

Asked to confirm that he was pleading guilty, Mr. Polanco said, "What else can I do?" This took some unwinding: you could go to trial.

He said in Spanish, Tengo que ir a juico, which means, I have to go to trial. But one could also translate it, I have to be brought to justice. He sold heroin and fentanyl to an undercover agent. And on November 5 at the same 2:30 pm he will be sentenced. Inner City Press will stay on this and other cases in the SDNY.



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