A ranking NYPD officer in Brooklyn has cost the city over $1.5 million in settled lawsuits. Lieutenant Daniel Sbarra, who heads the Brooklyn North Narcotics squad, has been accused of excessive force, offensive language and other offenses. Nevertheless, he was still awarded with stripes and a pay raise by Commissioner Ray Kelly in 2011.
The New York Daily News investigated Sbarra’s curious rise in the force with a lengthy piece released yesterday (May 19). The story revealed that the the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) filed 30 complaints against the 37-year-old officer. That number places him in a rare category, as just 54 of the NYPD’s 35,000 uniformed cops have over 21 such complaints. Despite this, Sbarra has been a favorite of the NYPD after rising from sergeant to lieutenant.
Sbarra’s squad has gained quite a reputation worthy of the hefty price tag. “There’s a reason Brooklyn North Narcotics are called the ‘Body Snatchers,’” said civil rights lawyer Paul Hale to the Daily News. Hale’s client recently won a $75,000 in a settlement after he was wrongfully arrested twice by Sbarra’s team.
“They don’t care if you’re innocent or guilty. They just want to make arrests at any cost,” Hale added.
Another settled case involved an aggressive strip-search of a Black city employee; Sbarra allegedly removed the man’s underwear with his boot while questioning him at the precinct. Although the city worker was charged with possession of narcotics, the man’s lawyer suggested that the drugs were planted by Sbarra. The case was later settled for $30,000.
Of the 58 cases involving Sbarra and the Brooklyn North squad, nine are still pending. Depending on court findings, the cases could eventually raise the city’s payout numbers even further.
Sbarra makes six figures at his current rank, earning $102,000 per year.
Check out photos of Lt. Sbarra and some of his alleged victims on the following pages.
Photo: New York Daily News