New York City is off the legal hook for the brutal beating of a gay black man who was half-blinded in a Brooklyn attack linked to an orthodox Jewish neighborhood watch group.
The victim, Taj Patterson, told a “troubling tale” about cozy relationships between the NYPD and Williamsburg Shomrim, Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis said Wednesday. But Patterson’s federal civil rights suit was too slim on specifics to keep the city a part of it, the judge said.
Garaufis also tossed claims against two men linked to the December 2013 attack — including one who’s serving prison time for his role in the assault.
But the ruling doesn’t wipe out Patterson’s 2016 lawsuit. He’s sued two patrol groups and other individuals who haven’t responded to his claims.
Testimony in the criminal case showed Patterson was walking through Williamsburg when a group of men — some with the Williamsburg Shomrim — started chasing him. They mistakenly thought he was a car vandalism suspect.
Five men were charged in the beating. Two cases got tossed and two ended in plea deals.
The last person, Mayer Herskovic, was convicted of gang assault and sentenced to four years. Prosecutors said they had Herskovic’s DNA on Patterson’s sneaker.
Herskovic is appealing and his lawyers have said he wasn’t linked with the watch group.
Patterson had surgery three times, but doctors couldn’t salvage sight in his right eye.
In his civil case, filed in June 2016, Patterson argued the city should be on the hook for the wrongs of an unsupervised private police it funded.
He also alleged police treated him — a gay, black, gentile man — unfavorably compared to his straight, white Jewish assailants.
Patterson served up “generalized accounts” of special treatment for the Shomrim groups, but didn’t point to particulars that linked to his case, Garaufis said. The judge noted he couldn’t spot any discrimination allegation against any police officers for singling Patterson out for who he was.