Non-binary person tasered in crotch by police wins tens of thousands in settlement
A Black non-binary community activist who was allegedly tased in the crotch by New York City police has reached a $35,000 settlement.
Gay City News (GCN) reported the settlement comes almost two years after Danée Sergeant encountered an NYPD officer on the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side after their birthday party.
In body camera footage of the 2019 incident, shared by GCN, Sergeant can be heard criticising police for questioning Black people on the street. They then criticised officers for protecting “the white people”, adding “that’s what they’re there for”.
Sergeant put their hand out, and an NYPD officer responded by telling them not to “put your hand out at me”.
“I didn’t touch you,” Sergeant said.
The officer then told the non-binary activist to “keep f**king walking, bro”. Sergeant countered by telling the officer not to “talk to me like that”.
In the footage, the officer can be heard repeatedly telling Sergeant to put their hands down, and Sergeant remarked that “they up” while stretching their arms above their head.
After this, the encounter quickly escalated, and Sergeant was told to “turn around” by police. GCN reported the officers pulled Sergeant’s sweatshirt and caused them to choke.
Pedestrians can be seen in the background watching the confrontation between Sergeant and NYPD officers. Some people even ran over to deescalate the situation and pleaded with the police officers to stop.
But, at that point in the footage, officers pulled out a taser and zapped Sergeant in the groin, reported GCN. According to the outlet, Sergeant was put in handcuffs and placed in a cop car following the encounter. They were later taken to a hospital to remove the taser prongs.
Sergeant’s lawyers filed a complaint in the US district court for the southern district of New York. The lawsuit listed multiple allegations against the police including that the NYPD officers used excessive force, issued a false arrest, fabricated evidence and violated Sergeant’s civil rights.
J Remy Green, a lawyer who represented Sergeant, told GCN that the incident is sadly all too common for the NYPD, adding they are “constantly on a rage-driven power trip”. They added there have been similar incidents between NYPD officers and people who have questioned them.
“Individual members of the department – whenever they feel their authority is challenged in any way – often react with violence,” Green explained.
Green told GCN that their client was misgendered and identified as female in the NYPD’s paperwork about the incident, and they said it was unclear if the assault was gender-related. But they said some “gender malice” could be linked to the “general rage” from Sergeant asking officers about why the NYPD were “only questioning Black people” at the location.
“I cannot say for certain whether that’s bad training in general, or that’s gender motivated, or something else entirely,” Green said. “In this case, it’s hard to separate what might be some kind of gender malice from the general rage and malice that comes with retaliating against Danée for questioning why [the police] were only questioning Black people outside of a bar.”
PinkNews has reached out to the NYPD for comment.