Assaulted Mineola man’s lawyer asks again for cops’ names

Assaulted Mineola man’s lawyer asks again for cops’ names
Frederick K. Brewington (right) speaks at a Dec. 2, 2016 news conference with his client, Ronald Lanier (left, head down), who says two Garden City cops racially profiled and beat him. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

The Garden City Police Department still refuses to release the names of the cops who allegedly assaulted a Mineola man in November after multiple requests in advance of a lawsuit, the man’s lawyer said last week.

In a Jan. 26 letter, Hempstead civil rights attorney Frederick K. Brewington said the Village of Garden City dismissed with “disregard and contempt” his two other requests for information about the police who allegedly mistook Ronald Lanier, a retired Nassau County corrections officer, for a thief and tackled him in a Mineola supermarket.

The village’s decision has prevented Lanier from asking state and federal authorities to investigate the Nov. 30, 2016, incident, Brewington wrote.

“There is no legal reason and no rational basis for you and your clients to continue to deprive our client and our office of the names of these two officers,” Brewington wrote to Andrew Preston, a lawyer for the village.

Brewington’s letter last Thursday came the day attorneys for Garden City interviewed Lanier, which is required before he can formally sue the village.

Brewington filed a notice of claim in December informing the village that Lanier planned to sue over the incident.

He also filed a request for the officers’ names under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

Lanier showed reporters a photo he took of the two officers, but the police department has not identified them.

Preston said the village does not comment on pending litigation.

But in a Dec. 14 letter, he told Brewington the village denied his request for the officers’ names because the Nassau County district attorney’s office is investigating the incident.

The village would only have to release the cops’ names before its attorneys interviewed Lanier if a judge ordered it to do so, Preston wrote in a separate Dec. 22 letter.

“We are unaware of any such court order,” he wrote.

Lanier, a U.S. Army veteran and 9/11 first responder, says he was tackled, handcuffed and berated by two Garden City cops at Mineola’s Western Beef supermarket.

The officers did not release Lanier even when he told them he was as a law enforcement officer, he said at a Dec. 2 news conference.

The officers beat Lanier’s body, ribs and arms and shouted profanity at him, Brewington has said.

Lanier worked as an officer in the Nassau County jail for more than 22 years before his retirement.

Black law enforcement groups and community activists led protests against the police department in the days after the alleged assault.

Garden City police said officers pursued and eventually arrested a Queens man the same day who allegedly stole designer handbags from a nearby department store.

A spokeswoman for Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas would not say whether it is investigating Lanier’s case, but said prosecutors “take complaints of police misconduct very seriously.”

Brewington has said he is representing clients in two other police brutality lawsuits against the Garden City Police Department.

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