The cops who shot 16-year-old Brooklyn teen Kimani Gray have been accused of civil rights violations in federal lawsuits. The New York Daily News writes that Sergeant Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova racked up five such charges prior to their fatal confrontation with Gray on March 9.
Mourad has been sued three times while working as a plainclothes officer in Staten Island, while Cordova was slapped twice while working in Brooklyn’s 70th Precinct. Costing the city $215,000 in court settlements, the combined cases, save for one, were all dismissed and later sealed. Both Mourad and Cordova were accused of exploiting the controversial “stop-and-frisk” tactic and going outside the confines of the law to hide their involvement. Attorney Brett Klein, a lawyer who filed four of the five lawsuits against the two, explains.
Our clients’ interactions with Sgt. Mourad and Officer Cordova expose a disturbing pattern of unconstitutional and aggressive stop-and-frisk practices,” said Klein to the Daily News. “In each case, Mourad and Cordova attempted to cover up their misconduct by falsifying and fabricating evidence.”
The five suits vary in monies paid and considered light settlements because they also included attorney’s fees. Derek Franks won a $92,500 settlement after suing Mourad and other unidentified officers after saying he was stopped, frisked, and arrested. Franks spent four months in Rikers in 2007 until charges were eventually dropped. Andre Maraj and Dary Harville both got $22,500 settlements after claiming false arrests by Mourad and unnamed cops; Harville said officers slammed him into a car.
Jontel Sebbern won $20,000 after he claimed Mourad and others stopped him in his car and ordered him out the vehicle. Sebbern claimed that the cops frisked him and pulled his underwear. Peter Owusu and his encounter with Cordova was worth $22, 500, this after claims of “emotional distress” when it was alleged the officer had Owusu handcuffed and placed face down in a puddle. Owusu later pleaded guilty for a disorderly conduct charge. Steve Morency accused Cordova of punching him the eye after an illegal stop, netting him $35,000.
Although the city says that the settlements didn’t gain the officers any criminal charges, the revelation gives fuel to a growing sentiment that Gray was unarmed when he was gunned down. A witness told the Daily News earlier this week that she didn’t see the reported .38-caliber handgun that Mourad and Cordova said the teenager aimed before they hit him with seven bullets after firing 11 shots. Three of those shots hit Gray in the back.
Check out the gallery featuring pictures of officers Mourad and Cordova.
Photos: AP/New York Daily News