The city man shot in the stomach outside of the Frank X. Graves Public Safety Complex by a policewoman has filed a lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages, according to federal court records.
Larry Bouie was behaving erratically and shouting outside of 111 Broadway at about 5:50 p.m. on October 29th, 2016 when the on-duty policewoman, whose name has yet to be released by authorities, fired on him. He was wounded in the stomach, according to police. His girlfriend and twin sons witnessed the incident.
Bouie was not armed. He also did not have any objects that could have been mistaken for a weapon, says the lawsuit. His shooting sparked a small protest against police in downtown Paterson.
“Her use of deadly force was unreasonable, unlawful, and excessive,” claims his lawsuit filed on June 7th, 2017. He underwent skin grafting, two life-saving surgeries, physical therapy, and will require additional treatment in the future, according to the lawsuit.
“In this case my client, completely unprovoked, was shot. There was no physical altercation, there was threats, he was not holding anything. This was just an unprovoked shooting by a female officer,” said Bouie’s attorney Kaitlin Nares of New York-based Fisher & Byrialsen.
Police director Jerry Speziale declined to comment on Monday morning when asked about the lawsuit. “I don’t comment on pending litigation,” he said.
Nares said the city is failing to properly train police officers on use of force. She cites a number of police-involved shootings over the years in the lawsuit. There were five police-involved shootings in Paterson in 2016. In 2017 so far, there have been two police-involved shootings.
These shootings have not prompted reform in the department, said Nares. She cited the city’s rejection of state funds for body cameras. “It’s a serious problem these officers don’t have body cameras,” she said. “They are not doing things to be able to protect the citizens of Paterson.”
The city rejected funding for body cameras because of the cost associated storing the recordings. Even without body cameras, there were plenty of witnesses to Bouie’s shooting. For example, Bouie’s girlfriend, Tasha Wade, witnessed the incident as did others on the busy street of downtown Paterson.
Though the shooting happened almost nine months ago, the policewoman involved has neither been cleared nor indicted by a grand jury. It appears this case is taking more time than a similar case from last year. For example, police officer Jonathan Bustios wounded a suspect in late December 2016 and he was cleared by a grand jury in early May.
“Due to the secrecy rules surrounding Grand Jury presentations, we cannot comment unless and until Grand Jury matters become public,” said Mary Ryan, chief assistant prosecutor at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, when inquired about whether a grand jury has made a determination in the Bouie case.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office typically announces when a grand jury clears or indicts in police-involved shooting cases.
Through his lawsuit, Bouie is seeking $10 million in damages. He sustained “severe and permanent emotional and physical injuries,” according to his court complaint.
When asked if the amount is a bit too excessive, Nares said, “If I walked up to you and shot you in the stomach, what would you value that at? Looking at someone else kind of seems excessive.” She noted Bouie, who has children, had to spend months in the hospital and will have gastrointestinal problems for the rest of his life.
“We don’t think it’s excessive,” she said.