NYPD

Man Died After Being Tased and Cut with a Power Saw by NYPD, City Accused of Hiding Video of Incident

Wrongful death lawsuit likens missing video "cover-up" to what Chicago PD did with footage of Laquan McDonald's shooting death.

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NYPD Taser
Martin Brayley/Dreamstime.com

The family of a 29-year-old man who died in July 2015 after being repeatedly tased and cut with a power saw by the NYPD is suing the city for wrongful death, seeking $25 million in damages. 

Anthony Paul was living in a "three-quarter house," a place where recovering addicts and people with mental health issues gradually learn how to function again in the world, when he appeared to suffer a breakdown, the New York Daily News reports. When the police arrived, Paul was naked and leaning against a locked door, which officers then started sawing through. According to the suit, Paul received "more than 30 cuts" as a result. 

Once the officers gained breached the door, Paul was "aggressive and confrontational," which they believed was due to his use of K2 (synthetic marijuana), though his family's lawyer, Derek Sells, says drug tests turned up negative for the substance. The police tased Paul "multiple times" and he later died in a Bronx hospital. 

Sells says there was a camera in the hallway pointed right at the door which police sawed through, but he claims the city only turned over a portion of the video footage taken from that camera, and nothing from the period where the confrontation took place. Sells compared the situation to what happened when the city of Chicago kept the dashcam footage showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in cold blood from seeing the light of day for over a year. 

The city insists they have turned over all the footage from the hallway camera and that Sells has provided no evidence that footage of the incident which led to Paul's death exists. 

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  1. The New Professionalism strikes again.

  2. Cut with a saw? What the fuck? Does the NYPD also employ a legally-safe knockoff of an ’80s horror character with miniature swords for fingers instead of knives?

    1. No kidding. How exactly does a cop cut someone with a power saw? How does that happen?

      1. Cutting through to door he was barricading.

        1. Oh, wow. So you really can’t hide, bitch.

          1. Honestly, what happened to kicking in a door or using a battering ram? No, let’s cut a mentally ill person up. Fucking goons.

        2. I have to kind of side with the cop them. If this guy wasn’t smart enough to step back when he heard or saw the power saw, its hard to have much sympathy for him. It isn’t like those things are quiet and appear without warning.

          1. He is not well mentally. He may not of been fully aware at what was happening. The cops should have known better since it happened at a place for mentally ill people to learn to skills to re-enter society.

          2. It’s like entering a charity for fighting dog rehabilitation and then going nuts and shooting dogs for fear of your life.

            1. Don’t give them any ideas.

          3. Anthony Paul was living in a “three-quarter house,” a place where recovering addicts and people with mental health issues gradually learn how to function again in the world, when he appeared to suffer a breakdown, . . .

            Since Paul was cut 30 times, it should be safe to conclude he was fully functional during the incident.

            1. That sucks but what are you going to do? Suppose the cops hadn’t broken out the saw and didn’t go through the door and in the mean time the guy had hurt himself? What then? We would be hearing about how a bunch of heartless horrible cops stood by and did nothing while this poor sick man did all of this harm to himself.

              This is a very tough situation. I am not sure there was a right answer. The lesson more than anything else is that it sucks to be mentally ill. I am not convinced the cops’ did anything other than do their best in an impossible situation.

              1. Suppose the cops hadn’t broken out the saw and didn’t go through the door and in the mean time the guy had hurt himself?

                The guy was cut more than 30 times. Presumably, there was blood and screaming involved. The decision to cut down a door or wait out a deteriorating situation is a tough call that I don’t want to make. But there must have been plenty of evidence that cutting through door should have stopped once their was blood.

                What then? We would be hearing about how a bunch of heartless horrible cops stood by and did nothing while this poor sick man did all of this harm to himself.

                The job of the police should be to contain the situation and prevent third-parties from being injured. Other trained professionals should have the responsibility of dealing with mentally ill people. You would think these type of people should be on staff at this kind of residence.

                There were many systemic problems in this situation. But the responsibility for tazing a bleeding man squarely falls on the shoulders of the fuckwad that pulled the trigger.

                1. How hard is it to cut off a door?

                  I would think you could just cut the door knob out of the door and swing it open.

                  Or, also cut it off the hinges.

                  Why would you need to make so many cuts that you cut someone 30 times?

                  1. Why would you need to make so many cuts that you cut someone 30 times?

                    Remember, we’re talking about cops here. Some of the lowest of the low foreheads. I’m curious who the fuckwit is that decided to trust these dipshits with a powersaw in the first place.

          4. Unless he is being threatening or has a weapon, maybe the police shouldn’t be the first people you call when someone is having a mental breakdown.
            “Open the fucking door or we’ll saw it down” isn’t likely to pacify a raving crazy person or encourage a calm resolution to the problem.

        3. Why can’t they just cut his fingers off with bolt cutters like the other organized crime outlet?

      2. The NYPD ESU team is both a SWAT and rescue team, so I am sure they were called to get in the door. And then they got in the door…

  3. Cut with a fucking power saw?

    Mother Fucking Christ.

    1. Only 30 times.

      1. Could be worse, like Death by 1000 Cuts.

        1. What’s the diminishing returns on circular saw cuts I wonder?

    2. Would it make you feel better if he suffered blunt force trauma from a battering ram?

  4. He said – she said.
    Sorry; not news until there’s more data.

    1. You mean He sawed, she dead?

      1. New NYPD motto: I came, I sawed, I conquered.

  5. I guess I am a little cynical….I don’t quite trust the NYPD response.

    1. There response is basically, if you can find the evidence we destroyed, maybe we will pay you off.

      1. Straight from the Chicago PD manual.

      2. When they’re asking you to prove they didn’t steal something you can be pretty sure they did. A guilty person questions the evidence, an innocent person claims innocence. Usually, anyway. You’d think they would know that, y’know, being cops and all.

  6. The city insists they have turned over all the footage from the hallway camera and that Sells has provided no evidence that footage of the incident which led to Paul’s death exists.

    Look, it’s not the police’s job to handle evidence.

  7. Wouldn’t there be an exceptional amount of blood after being cut with a saw thirty times, and wouldn’t that alert the wonderful officer that a man was being cut by his saw?

    1. Tumescent.

    2. That was my thought.

      They should have seen the blood on the blade after the first cut, and you know, not done it 29 more times.

      1. This dude should be fired immediately. He is clearly a psychopath or totally clueless. Either case, get his ass off the streets.

    3. My thinking was, perhaps, that they had (through trial-and-error, perhaps) set the depth plate on the saw more-or-less correctly.

      While I’m the last person to give cops the benefit of the doubt, even for them it would seem absurd to start sawing(!!!) at people ? while claiming to be attempting entry ? without doing this.

      If they *had* done this, the saw blade would ideally (for this purpose) protrude no more than, perhaps, 1/16″ (or less), and it’s easy to imaging how “30 cuts” could be sustained in this fashion before either party reacts. We could be talking about barely more than a cat-scratch at this point.

      1. Type fail today. Why the hell did we get promoted spam comments instead of an edit button? I mean, seriously.

  8. Once the officers gained breached the door, Paul was “aggressive and confrontational,” which they believed was due to his use of K2 (synthetic marijuana)

    As opposed to having been, you know, mutilated.

    1. NO, TWAS THE BATH SALTZ!!!!!!

      1. You *believe* it was!

        What a horrible story all around. 8-(

    2. If only there were an alternative to synthetic marijuana that was known not to make people particularly aggressive.

      I’m going to go ahead and jump to the conclusion that drug testing is ultimately to blame. Or he was freaking out because he was cut by a fucking power saw by a bunch of loud, aggressive men when he was already having some kind of breakdown.

  9. Dear editors. The dude was first cut with a power saw and then tazed. It actually makes a difference which order you put these in the headline.

  10. “The city insists they have turned over all the footage from the hallway camera and that Sells has provided no evidence that footage of the incident which led to Paul’s death exists. ”

    Hahaha, oh good stuff. ‘Fuck you Plebian, prove a negative!’ Love it.

    Of course, a reasonable person might ask ‘why is this camera that is always pointed right at this door missing footage from exactly the period of time when you killed a guy’ but that’s really only probable cause if you’re not the police it would seem.

    Also, what the fuck?! Who uses a saw for a door breach? Didn’t they shell out thousands, if not millions, of dollars for shit like battering rams and maybe some training?! Did the door not have hinges?! Jesus, New York, get your shit together. Do we really need to call Snake?

  11. Given NYPD marksmanship, amazed the saw only injured perp and not bystanders twenty or thirty yards away.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Their accuracy means that they are now being given melee weapon alternatives. And somehow they still miss a stationary object, with a melee weapon, and hit the person they’re ostensibly there to protect.

      If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

  12. The family of a 29-year-old man who died in July 2015 after being repeatedly tased and cut with a power saw

    hen the police arrived, Paul was naked and leaning against a locked door, which officers then started sawing through. According to the suit, Paul received “more than 30 cuts” as a result.

    It sounds like the cuts were accidental as opposed to deliberate (implying incompetence as opposed to sadisticness). At first I assumed the cuts were on purpose. The fact that I was surprised to learn that they weren’t tells you something about the amount of esteem I have for cops.

  13. Once the officers gained breached the door, Paul was “aggressive and confrontational,”

    I don’t suppose it crossed their tiny little brains that maybe that had something to do with being cut by a power saw 30 times, did it.

  14. They came, they sawed, they conquered.

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