Police Abuse

Lawsuit Charges NYC Cops With Stomping a Parakeet (and Beating Humans) During a Warrantless Raid

|

Stories about cops gratuitously killing dogs are sadly common, but this is the first parakeet stomping I can recall. According to a federal lawsuit, it all started during a 2012 Labor Day weekend barbecue at the Staten Island home of Evelyn Lugo, a 57-year-old mother of 10. Police officers stopped Lugo's son Edwin Avellanet as he was taking out some trash and asked him about an orange cone that someone had used to save a parking space in front of the house. The cops demanded identification, and Avellanet replied that he did not have to provide any, since he had done nothing wrong. One of the officers grabbed Avellanet's arm, but he broke free and ran back into his mother's house. The suit says police then forcibly entered the house without a warrant, breaking windows and at least one door in the process.

During the raid, the cage containing Lugo's cherished blue and green parakeet, Tito, was knocked onto the floor, and the bird escaped. Lugo's daughter Anna Febles told the New York Daily News that she then exclaimed, "The bird!" She said one of the officers replied, "Fuck the bird!" and deliberately crushed it beneath his foot.

According to the lawsuit, the cops also attacked several humans, repeatedly walloping Lugo's son George and a family friend, Luis Ortega, on the head with batons. The justification? The NYPD isn't talking, but I'm going to guess something like "resisting arrest." Arrest for what is not clear. Criminal charges against Ortega, George Lugo, and his sister Alba Cuevas were dismissed, and no charges were ever filed against Avellanet, whose insistence on his civil liberties apparently provoked the home invasion.

There is also no word on exactly what the parakeet did to deserve his fate, but presumably the officer who killed it felt threatened. "Ever since then I have been sick and depressed," Evelyn Lugo told the Daily News. "I was hurt on the inside, in my heart."

[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]

NEXT: Sen. McConnell to Vote Against Budget Deal

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. First they came for the dogs, and I did not speak out, because I was not a dog. Next they came for the parakeets, and I did not speak out, because I was not a parakeet.

  2. Goes back to the point that many including myself have made on here. Cops don’t shoot dogs because they are afraid or because they hate dogs. They shoot dogs as a way of terrorizing people. Here, there wasn’t a dog, so they killed the parakeet. The point is to terrorize people.

    Here is the original Daily News Story with pictures of all of those involved. The pigs seemed to have done quite a number on several people’s faces. I hope they collect millions. And as for the taxpayers, fuck them. Maybe they should take an interest in reigning in their animal cops.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new…..-1.1541112

  3. There is also no word on exactly what the parakeet did to deserve his fate

    There’s a bowl of petunias somewhere out there that could tell you all about it.

  4. “The cops also attacked several humans, repeatedly walloping Lugo’s son George and a family friend, Luis Ortega, on the head with batons.”

    The important thing is that New York City’s parking spaces remain pylon free.

  5. Well, it has become clear to me that cops are being trained, or perhaps are learning from others, to kill pets as an intimidation technique. I wonder if it would be possible to expose those training materials either through subpoena or FOIA? Would also be nice to get a (former, obviously) trainer to admit that this was taught.

    And remember, people, you cannot simultaneously claim outrage over things like this while simultaneously claiming that animals are mere property.

    1. They don’t have to be taught it. I would be very surprised if something like this is in writing. At best it is word of mouth and good luck getting one of them to admit it.

      But no question, killing pets is a way to terrorize and intimidate. It has nothing to do with law enforcement or safety. Did you read the story out of Kansas City last week where the attorney told the cops “get a warrant”? What was the first thing the animal said? “Let us in or we will come back with a warrant and kill your dog”.

      That statement didn’t come from nowhere.

    2. “And remember, people, you cannot simultaneously claim outrage over things like this while simultaneously claiming that animals are mere property.”

      You cannot be outraged that your property was destroyed? I’m sure that must be sarc, so nevermind!

      1. No. Killing people’s pets is worse than destroying physical property. Pets are more than just physical property.

      2. No, not sarcasm.

        1. Than I think people can be plenty outraged over personal property, as well.

          I have family heirlooms that are irreplaceable. Their value to me is far beyond what I could sell them for. Some of them aren’t worth much on the market. But if the cops pointlessly destroyed them, I’d be pretty outraged.

          I think pets are like that. Even IF pets were only property, their value to their owners goes beyond their market value. And there’s no reason why juries, judges, and the law shouldn’t consider that extra value.

    3. And remember, people, you cannot simultaneously claim outrage over things like this while simultaneously claiming that animals are mere property.

      Why the hell not? You wouldn’t be outraged if instead they had just torched the owner’s house or stole and ransomed her car?

      1. I am also outraged over mere property destruction.

        But I am more outraged over the destruction of creatures than of mere things.

        1. Well, if someone burned your house down it wouldn’t be “mere” property destruction. Having your home and all your belongings torched would be up there with killing your pet.

          I will grant you that this shit is evil but apart from cruelty laws property is probably the best way to define pet animals. If you’re going to claim animals have an inalienable right to life you would have to outlaw hamburgers.

          1. Uh, no, I didn’t claim that. Don’t see how a reasonable (!) person could have gotten that out of what I wrote.

            1. Don’t see how a reasonable (!) person could have gotten that out of what I wrote.

              Because granting animals rights beyond that of property doesn’t really have any other logical conclusion.

        2. And isn’t there some property destruction that outrages you more than others? For example, destroying or stealing a cherished heirloom compared to destroying a used car?

          You can still call animals property, especially as a legal matter, while valuing some property more than others. I think people should be barred from wantonly torturing or destroying their pets (while they can do whatever they want to their prized heirlooms). But those who disagree are not necessarily hypocrites if they find this stuff extra heinous. After all, the owner does not kill the dog/parakeet, the cops do.

    4. This is bullying tactic from time immemorial. If you express concern for something, a favorite notebook, a pet, your mother, a bully will find a way to increase your distress by harming it. Cops are simply emboldened to escalate the bullying because they can not only hide behind a badge, but also behind a large pack of other bullies.

    5. I’m sympathetic to the suggestion that some animals have certain rights that can be violated in certain situations, but I read Tonio’s statement there as sarcasm.

      “And remember, people, you cannot simultaneously claim outrage over things like this while simultaneously claiming that animals are mere property.”

      My sarcasm meter is broken half the time, but I think that’s sarcasm.

  6. Starfleet Prime Directive: “No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space or the fact that there are other worlds or civilizations.”

    Police Prime Directive: “Kill all pets.”

  7. “If you want a picture of the future Winston, imagine a boot stomping on a parakeet-forever.”

    1. It pains me to admit…..but I’m still laughing quietly in my office at this, tears streaming down my face……

  8. “Police then forcibly entered the house without a warrant, breaking windows and at least one door in the process….The cops also attacked several humans, repeatedly walloping Lugo’s son George and a family friend, Luis Ortega, on the head with batons.”

    These are the same police that would have been enforcing the sugary soft drink ban.

    Actually, in Bloomberg’s mind, sugary soft drinks are much more harmful than reserving a parking space with a pylon.

    Bonk, bonk on the head!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSIXFlOPeH4

  9. Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Norwegian Blue…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

    Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

    Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

    Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

    Owner: No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, idn’it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

    Mr. Praline: The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

    Owner: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

  10. “STOP RESISTING!”

    “Squawk! Stop resisting.”

    “STOP RESISTING!”

    “Squawk! Stop resisting.”

    “STOP RESISTING!”

    “Squawk! Stop resisting.”

    “ARE YOU MOCKING ME PUNK?”

    1. Best laugh all day.

      Might have to get a parakeet and train it for “Squawk! Get a warrant.”

  11. But the parakeet was “charging in an aggressive manner.”

    1. And wearing gang colors.

  12. All over an orange road cone? Well, you know what they say: “It is the lowly infraction that chips away at the foundation of society.”

    1. …And I say, “Chip away!”

  13. They teaching stomping parakeets in police training along with shooting dogs and cocking one’s pistol whilst holding the barrel in the suspect’s mouth during interrogations.

  14. Anyone who has owned birds will tell you they are intelligent and sensitive creatures. Not sure about parakeets, but the larger Amazons, Cockatoos and Macaws have cognitive abilities that rival chimps and dolphins. My 15 ounce African Grey dominates our three dogs; they just seem to recognize her superiority.

    The thought of a pet bird stomped to death is heart breaking and anyone so cruel to do it deserves all the suffering that this world can mete out. Cruelty to animals or children is unforgivable.

    1. “The Macdonald triad (also known as the triad of sociopathy or the homicidal triad) is a set of three behavioral characteristics that has been suggested, if all three or any combination of two, are present together, to be predictive of or associated with, later violent tendencies, particularly with relation to serial offenses…” /Wiki

      Cruelty to animals is one of the three. What’s that say about the caliber of humanoids working for the NYPD?

  15. Done properly the dead parakeet should only be the diameter of a quarter.

  16. (Hey, I grew up watching Don Rickles).

  17. Slow work day. No dogs to shoot. Might as well kill something.

  18. The day will come when the NYPD, like the STASI before them, will strip off their uniforms and slink away in an effort to avoid the lynch mob. May their efforts be as futile.

    1. Croaker, I wish those NSA guys wore uniforms cause they’re a motherfucker to spot.

  19. “”The bird!” She said one of the officers replied, “Fuck the bird!”

    ‘Forget it Jake…. it’s Staten Island….’
    (cue soft jazz epilogue, ‘Wiping Parakeet from my Shoe’ by Winton Marsalis)

  20. NOOOOOO! Not Disco!

  21. An officer of the law can request identification of anyone, at any time. Refusing is not not grounds for a home invasion, however. I hope that the City pays substantial damages to Mrs Lugo, and that the police officers who did this are severely reprimanded.

    1. An officer of the law can request identification of anyone, at any time.

      Not true in my state, unless you’re operating a vehicle. They can ask you for a name, which you are obligated to provide, but not identification; and you are otherwise under no obligation to speak to them.

      1. Anybody can request anything.

        One thing that bugged me about the Hiibel case, by the way, was that the cop (iirc) never asked a question or made an explicit request; he kept saying “I need to see some ID,” or the like, a mere assertion of fact with which anyone is free to disagree.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.