Francisco Casablanca-Torres was riding his Bianchi bike during a protest near Third Ave. and 50th St. on June 3, 2020, when he was initially struck in the right hand by a police baton about 9:30 p.m., the suit filed Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court alleges.
Casablanca said he was trying to record cops on his mobile phone as police rushed protesters when he was struck, with the blow knocking the phone to the ground.
The officer “kicked the phone away from him,” the court papers allege, but Casablanca was able to pick it up during the melee.
That’s when two more cops can be seen in the 11-second video — which has gotten 15.5 million views on Twitter — rushing over and also striking Casablanca.
The baton-wielding officers hit Casablanca “on his back, shoulders, arms, thighs, legs and elsewhere,” the lawsuit claims.
He was arrested and released the following morning, but only after the lawsuit claims he was held with other maskless suspects in a crowded police van and a holding cell.
The charges against Casablanca were dropped in early September “on grounds consistent with Mr. Casablanca’s innocence,” the lawsuit says.
Casablanca said the alleged attack left him with a swollen right hand when police put him in handcuffs that were too tight, and bruises and swelling all over his body — with the injuries shown in photos that were included with his lawsuit.
Casablanca also claims he “never saw his bicycle again,” despite the officers telling him at the scene that “we’ll take care of it,” the suit says.
He is accusing the NYPD of using excessive force and denying protesters their right to free speech — and claims the department doesn’t provide proper training or policies on police conduct during demonstrations.
The suit also alleges that cops “failed to abide by this directive to wear masks.”
Photos from June 2 show cops at protests ignoring official directives to mask-up.
“The NYPD engaged in activities that violated the constitutional rights of individuals who were protesting police misconduct, including … corralling protestors into spaces where they could not escape, beating protestors with batons and fists, throwing protestors to the ground, using pepper spray indiscriminately, and ultimately arresting many of the protestors without lawful justification and without fair warning” the suit charges.
He’s suing for unspecified damages and trial by jury.
Sgt. Edward Riley, a spokesman with the NYPD, said the department “will decline to comment on pending litigation.
A spokesman with the city Law Department said, “The lawyers will review it once the city is served.”
Additional reporting by Tina Moore