A Bloomingdale man, who led police on a car chase after he was spotted conducting an alleged drug transaction on Godwin Avenue and Carroll Street, filed a federal lawsuit in late September alleging police officers “assaulted, brutalized and injured” him.
Justin Russo states in the lawsuit he was stopped in a car by police on October 7, 2014 while he was “transacting with another man.” After the transaction he pulled away in his car at which time detectives in unmarked police vehicles began to pursue, he states in the lawsuit filed on September 20th, 2016.
Russo was “unaware that the persons behind him were police officers in undercover police vehicles, and under the belief that the persons pursuing him were doing so with the intention of robbing him, sped off in his vehicle,” reads the lawsuit. As he was fleeing police he sideswiped a parked car, states the lawsuit.
Russo began to run on foot after striking the vehicle, according to the complaint. Once Russo “realized that the persons chasing him were police officers, he obliged with their instructions and stopped and got down on his knees.”
Police at the time said Russo drove onto a sidewalk to evade police sending pedestrians scattering for safety. He was also accused of ramming his car into a police vehicle.
Russo was accused of purchasing six glassines of heroin from an alleged drug dealer. Police charged him with aggravated assault for striking the police car, eluding, resisting arrest, heroin possession, and weapon possession for using his vehicle to strike a police vehicle.
Detectives tackled and arrested him on Straight Street and Hamilton Avenue. The next thing he remembers is waking up in a hospital bed with severe injuries to his head including a compressed skull fracture, states Russo’s complaint.
Russo alleges police “wrongfully and maliciously targeted, charged, assaulted, brutalized and injured” him in the “traffic stop.”