City being sued over claims of excessive physical force in Bronx arrest
In September, Travis Stewart was arrested in the Bronx, and it was caught on video involved in what looks like a physical altercation between him and the police.
On Wednesday, News 12 learned that the Bronx district attorney will not pursue charges against the officers, despite Stewart's desires. His attorney is now taking the first step to suing the city in a civil lawsuit.
"And these officers use excessive force and act like gang members," said civil rights leader Rev. Kevin McCall.
McCall is working with Travis Stewart because he says police assaulted Stewart. On Sept. 25, Stewart was on his way home when, he says, two officers approached him wanting to search his bag.
"I'm telling them you can't search it. They immediately tell me put my hands behind my back. I'm telling them, 'for what.' After I tell them, 'for what', they just assaulted me," said Stewart.
Stewart says they punched him, tased him in the groin, pulled him to the ground and brought him to the hospital in handcuffs. He says he was charged with disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer, and resisting arrest.
Stewart's attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, says the charges were dropped by the Bronx district attorney. A spokesperson for the office says the case is sealed.
"I think clearly if anybody committed a crime, it was these two police officers," says Sanford.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Bronx DA's office writes, "Our public integrity bureau reviewed the incident and found no criminal charges were warranted against the arresting officers."
An NYPD spokesperson says the incident is under internal review.
"The police station is right down the block so, and I have to walk that way to get to work. I have anxiety and PTSD sometimes. I'm thinking they're going to come out and say something to me, or they're going to drive up while I'm walking and say something to me or to pull me over for any little thing to mess with me. It's hard but that's the reality of what's going on,' said Stewart.
Rubenstein filed a notice of claim with the New York Comptroller's Office, in an effort to pursue a lawsuit against the city, NYPD and the arresting officers.
A spokesperson for the city declined to comment.