Staten Island police arrive at the scene of an alleged crime, where they find a middle-aged black man. He resists arrest, maybe, so they rough him up a bit. After a while, he complains that he's having difficulty breathing, but medical attention arrives too late, and he dies.
It's the story of Eric Garner, but also of Iriving Mizell, who died in police custody last year in the same precinct where Garner perished this month. Last week, the NYPD's Civilian Complaint Review Board ruled that Officers Megan Carroll and Earl Javellana did not seek medical attention for Mizzell, and that Officer Todd Craven used excessive force and gave a false statement regarding his arrest, the New York Daily News reports. And a lawsuit this week alleges Mizzell was "viciously" beaten and assaulted by cops before his death.
The lawsuit paints a violent picture of the circumstances surrounding Mizell's death. From the Daily News:
A lawsuit filed this week in Brooklyn Federal Court says Irving Mizell was beaten by cops who arrested him on March 7, 2013, after he violated an order of protection his girlfriend had against him.
Mizell was taken into custody about 6:30 p.m. outside the woman's apartment door. He was then removed to the stairwell where the officers "viciously beat, and assaulted him while dragging him down seven flights of stairs," out of view of security cameras in the elevators, according to the suit.
Mizell's complaints of having difficulty breathing while he was being booked at the 120th Precinct were ignored until he collapsed at 8:57 p.m. He was pronounced dead at Richmond University Medical Center.
Mizzell's death was ruled an accident due to a heart attack and the alcohol and valium in his system, a decision his attorney and family members hotly contest:
"To say his death was an 'accident' is absurd," [Attorney Thomas Giuffra] told The News. "It's shocking to me that this could happen in New York City in the 21st century."
"It was cruel. My brother was like a bird with broken wings and they stepped on him," [Irving's brother George Mizell] said. "They thought he was a drunk, a nobody who would get a beating and nobody would find out. Well, now they're going to find that they were wrong."
According to Giuffra, Mizell's autopsy revealed a bruised lung as well as cuts and impact injuries to his head and torso.
[Image via New York Daily News]