The Caribbean Immigrant Victims of the NYPD
While protests against the non-indictment of a police officer for the death of an unarmed black man in New York City continued for the second straight day yesterday, the reality is that many Caribbean Americans have also died at the hands of officers of the NYPD in the past 22 years.
Here are four cases in recent years.
Jose (Kiko) Garcia – Dominican Republic. In 1992 Jose (Kiko) Garcia, 23, a Dominican immigrant, was killed during a struggle with police officers in the lobby of an apartment building, Police said he was carrying a revolver and he was shot twice by Officer Michael O’Keefe. Like with the cases of Garner and Michael Brown, a grand jury cleared also Officer O’Keefe, supporting his claim that Garcia reached for a gun before he was shot.
Anthony Baez – Puerto Rico. On Dec. 22, 1994 Anthony Baez, 29, and his brothers were playing football outside their mother’s apartment at Cameron Place in the Bronx when the ball accidentally hit a police car. Officer Francis Livoti ordered them to go home but the Baez brothers continued their game, playing in the opposite direction. Officer Francis Livoti arrested David Baez first for disorderly conduct. He then attempted to arrest Anthony Baez, who had protested his brother’s arrest by crossing his arms in front of his chest. A scuffle ensued, while other officers arrived on scene. Baez was subdued, lost consciousness, and was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead of asphyxiation. Controversy centered over the extent to which officers contributed to his death, specifically whether he was subjected to a chokehold. Livoti was subsequently dismissed by the force for using an illegal chokehold. He was convicted on federal civil rights charges and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison but two years after he won acquittal in a state trial.
Patrick Dorismond – Haiti. Patrick Dorismond, 26, an unarmed Haitian-born security guard, was shot dead by an undercover narcotics detective in a brawl in front of a bar in Midtown Manhattan during the early morning of March 16, 2000.
The undercover police officer approached Dorismond and his friend as they were standing outside the “Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge” and asked him where he and his partners could purchase crack cocaine. One of the officers, Anthony Vasquez, shot Patrick Dorismond in the chest during a scuffle.
The officers claim the scuffle began when Dorismond became angry after they propositioned him, loudly declaring he was not a drug dealer. Officer Vasquez said he came to his partner’s aid. Hearing one of the men yelling “Get his gun!,” he drew his weapon and identified himself as a police officer. He claimed Dorismond grabbed the gun, causing it to discharge into his chest. But Dorismond’s friend, Kevin Kaiser, claims that neither of the officers identified themselves. He says he attempted unsuccessfully to pull Dorismond back from the confrontation. He described the first undercover cop who had approached Dorismond as aggressive and “in their face.” Kaiser said it was one of the cops who initiated the fight, hitting Dorismond first. An ambulance arrived on the scene within minutes of the shooting and Dorismond was transported to St. Clare’s Hospital where attempts to resuscitate him proved futile. The single bullet from Vasquez’s 9mm pistol had struck Dorismond’s aorta and his right lung, and he rapidly bled to death. By late July, a grand jury declined to file criminal charges against the detective Vasquez, concluding that the shooting of Dorismond was not intentional. The city of New York then agreed to pay $2.25 million to his family.
Ramarley Graham – Jamaica. In February 2012 Ramarley Graham, an 18-yearold teenager, was shot by an NYPD officer in the Bronx who was chasing him over the alleged purchase of a small amount of marijuana. Security video showed Graham entering his grandmother’s home and police running after him. Police at the time said officers witnessed a drug deal and pursued Graham, believing he had a gun.
They went in and found him in the second-floor bathroom, and ended up shooting him in the chest. He died shortly afterward. A grand jury indicted the officer, Richard Haste, but a judge threw the indictment out because he said the prosecutor failed to tell jurors about the cop’s claim that other cops told him Graham was armed. A second grand jury declined to indict. Last August, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced they would be reviewing the case. More than a year later, this September, they confirmed an investigation was under way.