Bratton has ‘strong concerns’ about arrest of mailman in Crown Heights
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton voiced “strong concerns” on Tuesday at a press conference that he called to discuss the March 17 arrest in Crown Heights of on-duty mailman Glen Grays.
The arrest received national attention after a video of the incident that was recorded by a bystander went viral.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Bratton said that the four officers and a lieutenant involved in the altercation are part of the Police Department’s Conditions Unit, a community-based troubleshooting group that Bratton said is a desirable unit to work in.
Bratton said that members of the aforementioned division are expected to operate in uniform.
“Part of the investigation into that incident will be, why were they in plain clothes — for what purpose, who authorized it,” Bratton said at the news conference, where he spoke about several law enforcement issues.
Last week, on March 22, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called a press conference at Borough Hall to denounce the arrest, which he termed a “horrific incident.” At the gathering, Adams presented the witness’ video and urged the Internal Affairs Committee to take quick disciplinary action against the officers responsible for the arrest.
Grays and Adams also appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Monday to speak about the incident.
“I was extremely terrified,” Grays said on the show. “I was afraid that if I didn’t comply that something was going to happen to me.
“I was told to ‘shut up’ numerous amounts of times,” Grays continued. “They rear-ended a car and I wound up from the back seat banging my left shoulder on the driver’s seat and banging my face onto the armrest.”
During the show, Adams expressed his concerns about the incident
“If this can happen to the mailman, it can happen to anyone in the community,” Adams said in the interview. “Those officers were extremely aggressive, and I believe that they wanted him to resist.
“He was smart enough not to resist, and I believe because of that, he is sitting here today telling the story,” Adams concluded.
Following the arrest, the postal worker was brought to the 71st Precinct where he was detained for a few hours before being issued a summons for disorderly conduct.
Grays returned to the precinct house to get the accident report that the officers filed. The report listed the officers involved as Lt. Luis D. Machado, Lazo Lluka, Miguel I. Rodriguez and David G. Savella.
According to an article published on Tuesday in The New York Times, “over the past six years at least three of the officers involved have been named in federal civil rights suits alleging false arrest, among other claims.
“Two years ago, a suit in which Officer Lluka and six other officers were named, resulted in a settlement in which the city paid the plaintiffs $140,000 in damages and an additional $75,000 in legal fees,” the article continued.
An additional incident involving Officer Lluka was also mentioned in the article.
“On April 30, 2009, the complaint stated, Officer Lluka arrived at an apartment … where other officers were handling a noise complaint involving the plaintiffs, a brother and sister, both of whom are African-American.
“When the woman said she would not let officers into her apartment without a search warrant because there were children present, Officer Lluka and two others ‘slammed her into a wall, threw her to the ground, kneed her on her back and handcuffed her,’ the suit alleged,” the Times article stated.
Grays says he only wants disciplinary action taken against the officers.
“I don’t want them to be jobless because they might have family and kids that they need to support,” Grays told “CBS This Morning.”
Bratton said at the press conference this past Tuesday that the four officers and lieutenant involved were taken off their assignments and placed on general patrol pending an investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau.
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