Mineola man says Garden City cops racially profiled, beat him

Mineola man says Garden City cops racially profiled, beat him

A Mineola man said Friday he plans to sue the Garden City Police Department for allegedly racially profiling and beating him in a Mineola supermarket Wednesday evening.

Ronald Lanier, a retired Nassau County Sheriff’s Department corrections officer, said two Garden City cops mistook him for another criminal suspect at the Western Beef Supermarket on Second Street because he is black, then threw him on the ground and beat him while he was handcuffed as others looked on.

Lanier and Frederick Brewington, his attorney, called for the firing of the two officers who allegedly assaulted him.

“I was stripped of my service, stripped of my humanity, stripped of my dignity,” Lanier said during an emotional news conference at Brewington’s Hempstead law office.

About 150 protesters marched from the supermarket to the Garden City police headquarters on Sunday to protest the alleged assault against Lanier, Newsday reported.

Brewington’s office on Friday served the police department and the Village of Garden City with a notice of claim alleging federal and state civil rights violations. 

Lanier will eventually file a lawsuit against both agencies, Brewington said.

A Garden City Police Department spokesman declined to comment on the allegations of assault and racism. The Village of Garden City also declined to comment.

Lanier, a U.S. Army veteran, worked as a corrections officer for more than 22 years and volunteered at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He was about to buy cooking oil at the supermarket around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday when the officers approached him from behind and shouted at him to stand still and put his hands behind his back, Brewington said.

Lanier complied and the officers threw him to the ground and beat his body, ribs and arms, Brewington said. When Lanier told them he was a law enforcement officer, they replied, “You’re no f—–g officer,” according to Brewington.

“I took an oath to protect and serve the safety and security of the Sheriff’s Department, and this is what I got back,” Lanier said.

The officers stopped hitting Lanier after he shouted at others in the store to start videotaping the incident with their cell phones, Lanier said.

Lanier sustained serious bruises and later brought himself to Winthrop-University Hospital to be examined, he said. Police did not call an ambulance for him.

They then detained him in a police car for about 20 minutes, then let him go after hearing the actual suspect had been found, Brewington said.

It was 49-year-old Stephen Wilson of Rosedale, Queens, who police arrested at Western Beef after he allegedly tried to steal two designer handbags from the Lord & Taylor department store in Garden City.

A police officer chased Wilson as he fled the store in a gray Acura. He drove the car onto the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Mineola before running into the supermarket, where he was arrested, police said.

Wilson was charged with petit larceny, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, reckless driving and driving with a suspended license, police said.

Lanier said he saw Wilson and that he looked 100 pounds heavier than him.

“When you don’t have a good description, you don’t just start scooping up black people,” Brewington said.

Brewington is handling two other police brutality lawsuits against the Garden City Police Department, he said.

The Village of Garden City has faced allegations of racism in recent years.

In March, a federal appeals court upheld December 2013 court ruling that found a village zoning law intentionally discriminated against minorities by limiting affordable housing. The Village Board passed a fair housing law in February.

By Noah Manskar

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