Woman awarded $431,000 for Occupy Wall Street policing

NEW YORK (AP) — A Manhattan woman was awarded more than $400,000 by a federal jury Friday after she sued New York City and its police department, saying she suffered a traumatic brain injury when a police sergeant threw her into the ground while serving as a medic for protesters during the 2012 Occupy Wall Street events.

Mary Tardif, 33, won the $431,250 prize nearly a decade after filing a lawsuit in 2013. She sought unspecified damages for injuries she suffered as a physician to protesters at multiple rallies organized by the movement. base that started in Manhattan, spread around the world and was known for its refrain: “We are the 99 percent.”

In an interview, Tardif called the verdict “very vindictive.”

“I feel like I’ve really seen justice for the first time,” said Tardif, who works at the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, where she interprets sign language for Broadway shows and serves as a disability consultant.

Tardif, who has had epilepsy since he was 19, said he considered the verdict, which found “assault” but not assault, to be a victory for those “occupants who never got to see this day or never had their day in the court”. .”

“It feels like a win for all of us. I wish I could share it with them. There were so many,” he said, speaking of others who were injured at rallies, as he celebrated at a restaurant near the courthouse with his service dog, Daisy, a black Labrador retriever who was with Tardif throughout the trial but hid from members. of the jury. .

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the New York City Law Department, said the city was “disappointed with this outcome” and was reviewing options.

He noted that a jury in 2018 had rejected the claims before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan reinstated the case, citing flaws in the first trial.

Paolucci said that Tardif “was never thrown to the ground, as she claimed. Additionally, and unfortunately, the jury was unaware that the plaintiff had introduced new injuries in this second trial that were never alleged in the initial case.”

During opening statements, city attorney Michael Viviano said a police sergeant who has since been promoted to lieutenant grabbed Tardif’s arms on March 21, 2012, and pulled her away when police were cleaning up a park in Union Square. because she had put her hands on a police officer’s back.

“Plaintiff then falls to the ground. Plaintiff was not thrown out,” he said.

Reza Rezvani, a lawyer who defended Tardif, told the jury in an opening statement that the sergeant grabbed her with both hands.

“He throws her to the ground. Her head hits the pavement,” she said.

Tardif argued in her 2013 lawsuit that her epileptic condition was often ignored after she was violently abused by police officers who arrested her at various protests while she was working as a doctor. The suit says she was kicked, her limbs walked on and she was thrown to the ground.

According to trial evidence and Tardif’s statements, the violent encounter in Union Square caused her head to hit the ground with such force that she was left with a permanent brain injury that leaves her unable to work, except in a job where she has flexible hours and can sometimes call in sick when completely immobile.


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