Enger Javier, a Bronx man who was arrested for manslaughter and spent a year in Rikers Island before charges against him were dropped in February, will file a lawsuit against the City of New York on Monday. In the suit, Javier’s attorney alleges that an NYPD detective said, “We got the right spic,” in reference to his arrest, and that he was repeatedly denied when he asked for a lawyer.

Javier was arrested in 2012 for the gang-related killing of Hansell Arias, a 19-year-old. Javier, who was present in the Bronx McDonald’s parking lot where Arias was killed, was detained on the scene and later arrested. He steadfastly maintained his innocence. Over time, evidence piled up in his favor: DNA under the victims fingernails was found not to match Javiers’; the key witness claimed that his testimony against Javier was coerced; and several other witnesses emerged, all of whom pointed to a different man as the killer.

Advertisement

In February, Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark dropped charges against Javier, and the ankle bracelet he’d been wearing since his release from Rikers on bail in 2014 was removed. “Our duty as prosecutors is to do justice, and since I am not convinced that the identification of Mr. Enger as the perpetrator is correct in light of these recent statements by the witnesses and other evidence that we reviewed, this indictment must be dismissed,” Clark said in a statement at the time.

Javier’s lawsuit, an early copy of which was provided to Gawker by his attorney, recounts many of the details of his criminal case, which were reported by Gawker and other news organizations. It claims that police and prosecutors willfully ignored or withheld evidence that would have exonerated Javier.

Sponsored

The suit also makes two allegations that were not previously reported. The first is that Carlos Faulkner, an NYPD who interrogated Javier and investigated his case, once referred to him as a “spic.”

Javier claims to have told officials early on the identity of the man he believed to be the real killer. The complaint alleges that Faulkner made the “spic” remark when Javier and a private investigator asked him why he did not follow up on that claim. From the complaint:

After being released on bail, Mr. Javier and his private investigator Manuel Gomez went to the 44th Precinct to ask Detective Carlos Faulkner why he didn’t investigate the person he was told by Mr. Javier who committed the murder in an effort to get a lead so that they could clear his name. Detective Carlos Faulkner responded to Manuel Gomez “We didn’t need to. We got the right Spic.” Detective Carlos Faulkner failed to even recognize Mr. Javier although he was standing next to Manuel Gomez at the time.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment.

The complaint also alleges that prosecutors interrogated Javier at length without a lawyer, despite his repeated requests to be provided with one. “After Mr. Javier asked for an attorney the Assistant District Attorney turned off the video camera and then proceeded to continue to interrogate Mr. Javier for over an hour. During this illegal interrogation the Assistant District Attorney repeatedly told Mr. Javier that he needed to confess to this murder,” it reads.

John Scola, Javier’s attorney, believes that Detective Faulkner’s alleged “spic” remark fits in with a larger pattern of racial profiling within the NYPD. “The deplorable usage of a racist remark towards Mr. Javier is indicative of the racial profiling which is all too common within the NYPD, especially in Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods any Hispanic or African-American male will do, regardless of their guilt or innocence, so long as the detectives can close their case,” Scola told Gawker.

“Every step of the way, the case was mishandled,” he added.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and other charges. The City of New York and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office are named as defendants, as well as Faulkner and several other individual employees of the NYPD and Bronx DA’s office.