August 16, 2013

Ronnie Marks confirms legal team preparing to sue NYPD

Prominent local attorney and former Unity Labour Party senator Ronald Marks has confirmed that his legal team has commenced preparations to sue the New York Police Department (NYPD).{{more}}

“My legal team have started preparations to sue the NYPD for brutality. They [NYPD]would not have taken this position if they did not have convincing evidence to sustain the charges,” Marks told SEARCHLIGHT late Wednesday night.

In a posting on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Marks wrote, “Fellow Vincentians in New York and in particular those who were at the Netball on Sunday 11th August, we are in the process of initiating action against the NYPD for their criminal actions on that said night. We need statements from witnesses and any video footage that you may have to make out our case. Anyone who saw what happened or have any footage please contact Mr. Colin Liverpool esq., the SVG Consulate or Omari and Jen. We need your help or it would just be our words against that of the Police. Please don’t let them get away with this, we cannot do it without your help, now is the time to stand up for your rights and make sure that none of us have to suffer at their hands like this again. Facebook friends please forward this message and assist us in our quest for justice.”

Marks grabbed headlines after he was arrested on August 11, along with two other Vincentians, Orande “DJ Kemmie” Christoper and Darren Dopwell, after a netball game at Lincoln Terrace Park on the intersection of East New York and Buffalo.

Detailing the ordeal to SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, Marks said that following their arrest, he, Christopher and Dopwell were taken to an 8×10 holding cell.

“It was a dirty room with a 2 by 10 stainless steel bench bolted to one corner. Darren and Kemmie asked repeatedly to use the bathroom and the officer told them to ‘piss in the Cell’; The same little room that we have to spend the night. They (Christopher and Dopwell) started to make noise, the police approached the cell in a rage with handcuffs. Darren raised his shirt and showed the officer a surgical scar on his right shoulder and told him please be careful with his shoulder.”

“He (the police officer) came in, handcuffed Darren, dragged him out [of] the cell and banged the same right shoulder on the bars and locked him in one of the toilets for the rest of the night. He (the police officer) later returned for Kemmie, handcuffed him, roughed him up and locked him in another stinking filthy toilet for the rest of the night,” Marks related.

Marks said they were kept in the holding cell from about 11:45 pm, and Christopher and Dopwell, who were locked in toilets, remained there from about 4 am to 8 am, before they were all transferred to central booking.

The former senator said he was still in “real pain” from the injuries he sustained.

“I can’t lift my arm above shoulder height. My knee and face bruised from when they handcuffed me and I was walking to the car when they tripped me. That is an even more cowardly act. That is why my head hit the pavement as I could not use my hands to break my fall. I went to a private doctor although I was seen by the EMT the same night after my lawyer demanded it. My neck and back [are] also hurting,” Marks told SEARCHLIGHT.

Marks posted photographs on Facebook, which showed bruises about his body.

Describing the situation as “just bare faced wickedness”, Marks said there was no need to arrest anyone that night.

“The crowd was already dispersing and going home. Most like me were just waiting for their ride to come around as many had to park a long distance away.

He said, in an earlier Facebook posting that while preparing to leave the netball, he observed the police arresting Darren Dopwell. He said he went to the police car into which Dopwell had been placed and asked what Dopwell had done.

He said two police officers came to the vehicle and asked what he was doing there and told him to leave. He said as he was walking away, the officers kicked his legs out from under him and three of them jumped on him and handcuffed him and threw him in a police car.

“I just want to just run away from this country and come home, but we planned to go [to] Miami for a few days and my daughter [is] looking forward to it. I can’t make them wicked people ruin her vacation,” he added.

Marks was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct and appeared at the Kings County Criminal Court, located at 120 Schemerhorn Street, Brooklyn, New York on August 12.

He was represented in court by Vincentian lawyer Colin Liverpool.

The NYPD took the position to “adjourn, in contemplation of dismissal”, the case against Marks.

This means that if Marks is not arrested within the next six months, the charges against him will be dismissed, and the case will be sealed.

However, no further court date has been set for the case.

All parties have since been released.

Mark is scheduled to return to St Vincent on August 22.