Your pain is worth a penny.
That’s the message a jury sent an Occupy Wall Street protester who sued the city, alleging he was a victim of police brutality.
Eric Gersbacher claimed NYPD Deputy Inspector Edward Winski used excessive force while arresting him for failing to move in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on Sept. 20, 2011.
In Manhattan Federal Court Monday, a jury found that Gersbacher’s bust was problematic — but he isn’t entitled to any monetary damages — save one cent.
“A federal jury found that the commanding officer of the NYPD’s First Precinct violated the Constitutional rights of a 20-year-old college honor student on the third day of Occupy Wall Street,” said Gersbacher’s lawyer Wylie Stecklow.
Stecklow hailed the result as a victory, saying Winski set a bad example for those under his leadership.
“When he used excessive force, when he violated Constitutional rights, that conduct was seen by those further down,” the attorney said. “It’s the lieutenants, the police officers who then were watching and understanding that was the conduct that was expected of them when policing protest activity….”
The city said that the lack of a money judgement speaks volumes.
“The one penny verdict shows the jury agreed this case had very little merit,” said Pat Miller, head of the Law Department’s Special Federal Litigation Division.
“We’ll continue to vigorously defend officers against such claims and disappoint anyone who thinks they will get an easy payday from the city.”
The NYPD did not comment on the verdict.
Gersbacher was charged with obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest. He accepted a dismissal deal from the district attorney’s office.
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