News: Bayshore Family Seeks $55 Million In Wrongful Death Lawsuit
(Long Island, N.Y.) A judge gave a Bayshore family the approval to proceed in suing the Suffolk County Police Department for the wrongful death of their twenty-four-year-old son, Kenny Lazo. The incident occurred in April of 2008 when Lazo was detained at a traffic stop on the Southern State Parkway. He later died while in police custody at the Third Precinct in Bayshore.
Reports concerning the details in the altercation between Lazo and police are conflicting. Some say that the twenty-four-year-old father had been a drug suspect and in possession of powdered cocaine, crack, and cash at the time of the incident. Others say the police struck Lazo's skull and face with flashlights after he elbowed an officer and tried to escape. There are also sources saying that Lazo reached for an officer's gun before he was beaten. Nothing official has been released concerning specifics of the incident.
The family is filing a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit, which they began in 2009, and is being represented by a lawyer from Hempstead. The attorney claims the suit will reveal a pattern of wrongdoing on the behalf of the Suffolk County Police Department. The grand jury did not indict any officers, nor have the identities of the five officers involved been released.
The coroner ruled Lazo's death a homicide, while the family of Lazo claims it should be considered a murder. They claim he was beaten and left to die in a jail cell while the officers involved are still patrolling Long Island streets. Lazo's family and supporters have organized several rallies and vigils outside the Third Precinct in Bayshore. Parents, children, workers, students, and NY-based hip hop artists have been among those who attended. One event was held on what would have been Lazo's birthday, and another was scheduled for the anniversary of his death. Many speakers against police brutality also attended the vigils.
Some reports showed that the Brentwood Legion Ambulance was called to the precinct at roughly 9:00pm that evening, and that they left with Lazo just before 9:20. About five minutes later, Lazo was pronounced dead on arrival at Southside Hospital. Because he wasn't declared dead at the precinct, the New York State Commission of Correction, which deals with prisons/jails/precinct lockups, ended their probe into the case.
The $55 million lawsuit is going to be taken up in the US District Court in Central Islip while the family's lawyer intends on accusing Suffolk district attorneys and officers with attempting to absolve the officers involved. Since the incident, many avenues of investigation have been made into the dealings by the Suffolk County Police Department.
Some reports say that federal authorities spoke with Suffolk officials and have probed into their investigatory files. The files were later sent to the US Attorney's office at the Eastern District in Brooklyn. Other reports say that the case has been investigated by Suffolk homicide detectives and officials from internal affairs.
Meanwhile, Lazo's family maintains that he was violently choked with a flashlight while handcuffed and held face down. They claim he passed out in a precinct interview room and was left to die by officers. The mother of Lazo's son claims she was also pulled over by police officers and held for hours in a separate incident, and was later released without charges. Lazo's mother insists that she only wants justice.
This article is an opinion piece which reflects the views of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself, or the owners of Long Island Exchange. For more information please view our terms of service.