SCHENECTADY -- The widow of Andrew Kearse has filed a lawsuit against the city, the Schenectady Police Department and several officers after her husband died in the department’s custody.
The lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County Tuesday. It alleges five police officers, whose identities were not provided, were involved in Kearse’s arrest and did not seek medical attention for him after he said multiple times he was having trouble breathing.
As a result, Kearse died from cardiac arrhythmia while in police custody, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the police assaulted Kearse, falsely imprisoned him and denied him necessary medical attention, along with several other claims.
City Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico said as of Tuesday morning the city had not been served with the lawsuit, so he declined to comment.
Angelique Negroni-Kearse, Andrew Kearse’s widow, previously played a 9-minute audio clip for The Daily Gazette, in which Kearse could be heard telling police he couldn’t breathe and that he was feeling dizzy. Kearse was unresponsive when he arrived at the police station. City Police previously said they immediately called paramedics.
In a prepared statement, Negroni-Kearse’s attorney Sanford Rubenstein said they were filing the lawsuit to “get justice and monetary damages” for Kearse’s family.
The notice of claim, filed by Negroni-Kearse in November 2017, sought $25 million in damages.
The lawsuit asks for damages “in an amount to be determined at trial.”
Andrew Kearse and his wife, Angelique Negroni-Kearse. (Photo: Provided)
Rubenstein also called for the state Attorney General’s Office to move forward with its investigation into Kearse’s death.
“We continue to wait on the Attorney General’s Office to make a determination regarding the convening of a grand jury on the journey for justice for his wrongful death criminally,” Rubenstein said in his statement.
Amy Spitalnick, communications director and senior policy advisor for the state Attorney General's Office, said they are continuing to investigate the incident.
"As in all of our [special investigation and prosecutions unit] cases, we are committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive and fair investigation," Spitalnick said in an emailed statement.
- Witness: Police said man who died in custody was 'faking', May 12, 2017
- State AG investigating Schenectady police custody death, June 7, 2017
- Family files notice of claim in Schenectady police custody death, Nov. 29, 2017
- Audio released of man who died in Schenectady police custody, Feb. 16, 2018