Mom to File $10M Suit Against NYPD After Mask Fracas

Kaleemah Rozier's claim says cops put knee on her neck while 5-year-old son watched
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2020 7:24 AM CDT
NYC Mom: 5-Year-Old Watched as Cops Put Knee on My Neck
New York police officers wear masks while patrolling a subway in the Bronx on April 17.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A mother arrested for not properly wearing a mask plans to file a $10 million notice of claim against New York City for excessive force, arguing police officers put a knee on her neck in front of her 5-year-old son. Kaleemah Rozier, 22, and her son were inside a Brooklyn subway station last month when they were approached by officers who said Rozier would be ejected if she didn't properly cover her nose and mouth—a state requirement when unable to keep 6 feet from others. According to police, Rozier refused and threatened to cough on officers, per WABC. The outlet reports she was escorted twice from the station before returning. A two-minute video posted to social media then shows six officers surrounding Rozier and bringing her to the ground. Police said she struck an officer as she tried to pull away and later apologized, per WABC and the New York Daily News.

But Rozier says her son was "pulled away from her" even though she wasn't resisting, according to the notice of claim obtained by ABC News. It claims she was "pushed in the back of her head and neck to the ground, had her arm pulled and twisted, [and] had a knee pressed in the back of her neck," leaving her with injuries "to the neck, back, left wrist, right wrist, left hip, left knee." Rozier's attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, also describes "psychological injuries" to the mother and son, who were separated as Rozier sat in jail. She's charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and harassment, though those charges may be dropped. She told the Daily News she'd only pulled down her mask to talk on her phone. Per ABC News, the NYPD issued 374 summonses for social distancing violations from March 16 to May 5, with 193 applying to African Americans, 111 to Hispanics. (More New York City stories.)

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