NYC Man Was Savagely Beaten After Calling Cops for Help In Custody Dispute; Receives $3M Settlement

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Thomas Jennings
(photo via Jesse Ward for New York Daily News)

A man horribly battered by a trio of officers in front of his then-toddler son in 2014 was recently awarded by a federal jury.

Thomas Jennings of Brooklyn, New York explained that what happened to him was clearly unlawful.

“I don’t have no problems with police officers. I have so much love for them because my father was a cop. You have good cops but you also have some bad ones out there. They were supposed to be there for me, to help me,” the 27-year-old told the Daily News.”

“I just don’t understand how things like this happen to innocent people,” Jennings said.

In April of 2017, the victim said he was going through a nasty custody battle with the mother of his now 7-year-old child, Levi.

He was headed to his son’s mother’s home after picking up Levi from day-care to pick up a bag of clothes for the child, but the young woman began attacking Jennings according to his attorney Amy Rameau.

The victim dialed the police and tried to explain to them what happened and displayed the court documents showing his parental rights, but the police claimed Jennings violated a protection order.

Officer Amber LaGrandier reportedly grabbed the victim’s son and placed him inside of the apartment. Officer Andrew Yurkiw then “sucker punched” Jennings and both officers along with Officer Joseph Solomito began stomping and striking the 27-year-old until he was unconscious according to Rameau.

Jennings said he remembers his son screaming “Daddy! Daddy!” but passed out after that.

The apartment’s camera footage showed the man being dragged by all three officers out of the building and thrown into the police car. They charged Jennings with criminal contempt and assaulting an officer, but the charges were later dropped.

The Brooklyn resident sued and was awarded $2.5 million in punitive damages by the jury and a total of $3 million after the four-day trial.

“The jury didn’t believe a word the officers had to say, all of them,” Rameau said. “They fabricated evidence in order to gain an advantage in my client’s prosecution.”

Officer Yurkiw claimed in court that he thought Jennings was faking his injuries although the victim’s right eye was entirely swollen shut and had a bloody nose.

‘They have proven themselves unfit for the office they hold,” said Rameau.

A spokesman for the New York City Law Department says they’re considering an appeal.

Jennings said his son is still undergoing therapy but is happy that justice is served.

The 27-year-old also has a pending lawsuit for another police brutality case. A pizza joint accused him of stealing two slices of pizza in 2015 but later dropped the charges. However, the two cops who arrested him also beat him severely.

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