Lawsuit: Rochester police officer attacked teen who called him a name

Posted: Dec 28, 2018 03:29 PM EST

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The Rochester Police Department is facing another lawsuit alleging police brutality after a 16-year-old claims he was attacked by an officer after he called the officer a name.

The lawsuit is being brought by the family of 16-year-old Yahmiek Maddox, who is being represented legally by Rochester school board president Van White, against the city, the Rochester Police Department and Officer Phillip Perelli.

According to the lawsuit, on May 25, Maddox was approached by officers who believed he was drinking alcohol. But, the lawsuit states, Maddox was only drinking a bottle of juice he bought from a store on his way home from school.

During the incident, Maddox says he was handcuffed, but later released. As he walked away, the lawsuit says he called on of the officers, Perelli, a name. The lawsuit doesn’t specify what exactly was said.

But, according to Maddox, the utterance led to Perelli slapping then grabbing Maddox around the neck.

At that point, the lawsuit alleges:

After violently attacking Mr. Maddox, several officers wrestled Mr. Maddox down to the ground. After these officers wrestled Mr. Maddox to the ground, Defendant Perelli began to punch Mr. Maddox repeatedly – who at that point was completely defenseless.

After putting handcuffs on Mr. Maddox for a second time, officers placed Mr. Maddox in the back of a police vehicle.  Once Mr. Maddox was secure in the vehicle, Defendant Perelli sprayed mace on Mr. Maddox as he sat a defenseless and handcuffed in the back of the police vehicle. With the vehicle windows and doors closed, Mr. Maddox could barely breath.

Maddox was charged with resisting arrest, harassment and a violation of the alcohol beverage and container law. The lawsuit says after the arrest, Maddox was taken to Monroe County Jail, but the charges against him were ultimately dropped by the district attorney’s office.

The lawsuit is now seeking damages for the attack and arrest.

During a news conference on Friday, White played a clip showing surveillance video of the altercation.

In a statement, the City of Rochester said, “Because this is now pending litigation and, in such matters, we are obligated to protect the interest of city taxpayers, we cannot offer additional details or comment at this time.”

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