Lawsuit alleges Suffolk police beat man, filed false report
Suffolk police are facing a lawsuit after allegedly falsely accusing a man of crimes against police officers.
It's been a year since Suffolk police body camera footage showed the arrest of Christopher Cruz.
Police say Cruz had stolen a Jeep and collided with two police cruisers while fleeing.
On Thursday, Cruz's attorney filed a federal lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department and the officer in the video, alleging they violated Cruz's civil rights.
Fred Brewington says police attacked Cruz, beat him to the ground face down and yelled to stop resisting.
"Mr. Cruz is not doing well at all," Brewington says. "He's having serious emotional problems, serious flashbacks."
One officer connected to the incident was brought up on criminal charges for filing a false police report.
Officer Matthew Cameron's attorney told News 12 that he had been involved in over 1,400 arrests with no complaints ever made against him.
The Suffolk District Attorney's Office said in 2021 that a special grand jury did not find reasonable cause that the other officers involved committed a crime.
In the new lawsuit, Brewington is including data regarding what he calls a "pattern" of civilian complaints brought to the internal affairs bureau resulting in little discipline of officers.
In 2020, only 7% of civilian complaints against the Suffolk County Police Department were considered substantiated.
"That means that 93% of the time, civilians were wrong," Brewington says. "How can that be?"
He says there was a pattern and practice of police doing wrongful acts, using excessive force, and not being held accountable.