A slap on the wrist for an NYPD officer who shoved a 14-year-old boy through a glass window.
NYPD Sgt. Eliezer Pabon has lost five of his precious vacation days for the excessive force he deployed on a Bronx teenager in May 2014, shoving the then-14-year-old through a glass window and causing him life-threatening injuries. Former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton signed off on the punishment at an administrative trial in May, reports New York Daily News. The punishment took so long to uncover in part due to the NYPD's recent policy that no longer requires disciplinary actions taken against officers to be shared with the media.
Javier Payne, the teenage victim in question, and a friend were arrested on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx after one of them had allegedly punched a man in the face after asking him for a cigarette. After being arrested and put in handcuffs, Payne was allegedly mouthing off to the officers when Pabon decided to push him into a convenience store window. One can see the shove as well as the ensuing shattering of the whole window in the below video.
Payne's lung was punctured as a result of the incident, and shards of glass had to be removed from areas near to his heart. “He had to be rushed into surgery,” said Payne's lawyer Scott Rynecki. “It literally almost took his life.” Payne weighed just 89 pounds at the time.
The NYPD had originally suggested that Pabon lose 30 vacation days when the first administrative charges were filed. In deeming him guilty in May, though, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Trials Nancy Ryan proposed a five-day punishment to Bratton, reportedly saying that a shove is a lesser example of force than a punch or a kick.
Earlier this week, the NYPD had given one of its officers a slightly tougher punishment -- the loss of eight vacation days -- for a seemingly much less severe offense. Bronx Officer Joseph Spina was docked three more vacation days than Pabon for being caught on video speaking out against Mayor Bill de Blasio while giving a driver a summons.
Upon comparing the two punishments, Rynecki has decided to sue the NYPD. “Javier and his mother are outraged,” he said. “You penalize one police officer for merely stating something verbally and you give him eight vacation days and another one who has been found guilty by a tribunal of using excessive force and nearly killing this young man — you’re giving him five days."
Rynecki claims that Robert Johnson, the Bronx District Attorney at the time of his client's injury, did not present the case to a grand jury upon finding out that the convenience store window already had a crack in it before it shattered due to the forceful shove.
“What's the public to think — that it's worse for a cop to complain about his bosses than it is to lay his hands on people and use excessive force?” asked Rynecki of the natural conclusion upon weighing the two cases side by side.