Two-and-a-half years ago, the police shot and wounded a toddler in the back as she ran from police, but that didn’t stop the child’s father from filing a lawsuit against the city and officers.
The Brooklyn Civil Rights Project (BCRP) released a report on Friday detailing the case, which also included testimony from three officers who were involved in the shooting.
In January, police officers had been dispatched to the West Village neighborhood to serve a warrant at a home on Woodlawn Avenue.
When the officers arrived, they discovered the toddler had run away from police and had hit a car.
One of the officers, Officer Christopher A. Williams, said the child was running from him and had gotten in the driver’s seat of the car, but the driver didn’t see her.
“The officer didn’t get out of the vehicle,” Williams said.
“The child was in the front seat, and I couldn’t see where she was going, so I shot her in the chest.”
The officer then fired four shots at the child, striking her twice in the head and twice in her back.
The child was rushed to a nearby hospital and died.
A second officer, Officer Jonathan T. Brown, who was a bystander in the incident, also said he didn’t feel threatened by the child.
According to the lawsuit, Officer Williams and Brown then drove to the nearby police precinct and arrested the mother, who refused to speak with them.
When the mother refused to identify herself to them, they began to beat and hit her and then arrested her, Williams said in court.
“[Williams] then ordered the mother to put her hands behind her back and she complied,” according to the complaint.
Brown then told the mother he would “get her,” according a statement released by the BCRP.
The woman’s son was then shot and pronounced dead at the hospital.
Officer Brown was later placed on administrative leave, but was later reinstated in the wake of the lawsuit.
Police Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the incident “unfortunate,” and said that police will “take every possible action to ensure that officers comply with the law and the law requires officers to follow.”
BCRP Executive Director Richard Hennig told the Daily Dot that the NYPD’s decision to dismiss officers in the case was “absolutely indefensible.”
“It’s clear to anyone who is watching that the police did not have a right to shoot and kill a toddler,” Hennib said.
Bubbling under a year, the case against the police officers involved in shooting the toddler is ongoing.
As of this writing, there is no trial date set for the case.