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Suffolk County Police sued in federal civil rights complaint during February 2021 arrest

Police car
Scott Davidson

A Long Island man claiming he was attacked by police officers last year has filed a federal lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department.

Christopher Cruz, of Long Beach, said he was allegedly punched and kicked by a group of Suffolk County Police officers while handcuffed. He said they used racial slurs during the attack.

The lawsuit filed on Wednesday claims former Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart and 19 members of the department violated his civil rights.

Police stopped Cruz in Coram in February 2021 for driving an allegedly stolen Jeep. Surveillance footage released later that year shows Cruz trying to drive off, but he said he eventually surrendered with his hands up and then was beaten to the ground.

Former Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini dropped several charges against Cruz after the video was released.

An officer, who is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, was charged last December for allegedly presenting a false police report about that night. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.
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