A New York family is suing the NYPD over a September, 2014 incident involving a bodybuilder who was shot by police after they requested he break down a door.
51-year-old father of four, Rafael Laureano, was killed by a round fired by police who had asked him to break through the door of a friend’s home because she was being assaulted by an ex-boyfriend, a lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court, says.
The suit says Katarzyna Russo was hiding with her two children in the bathroom of her Midwood apartment, while her ex, Francisco Carvajal, was hacking his way through a locked door with two knives.
When Laureano burst through the door to the apartment, Carvajal came at him and officers, who opened fire, discharging a total of 18 bullets. Nine struck Carvajal, killing him.
Laureano was hit once in the neck, killing him as well, the lawsuit claims.
Laureano’s son, 26-year-old Rafael Jr, says when he first arrived at the scene police told him that his father had been stabbed to death by Carvajal.
“When I got to scene I asked three cops what happened to my father, no one wanted to tell me anything,” he said.
The man said he had to show his military identification at the hospital where he was also told again by police and hospital staff that his father was stabbed.
It wasn’t until several days later that medical examiners determined Laureano’s death was caused by an NYPD gunshot wound.
The lawsuit asserts that the officers breached protocol by asking Laureano to smash the door in, rather than using a battering ram or calling for emergency assistance.
The family is seeking $32 million.
“No amount of money can replace the father of four children,” lawyer for the family, Abe George said. “The family is seeking justice. The NYPD and the city has yet to provide the Laureano family with the truth of what led to [their father’s] death.”
The NYPD contends that Laureano ran into the apartment after police forced the door open, but say they are still reviewing the incident.