An attorney is alleging police officers used excessive force against him during an interaction at the G&S Hunters gun shop on Saturday afternoon.
David Cubby alleges police officers assaulted and falsely arrested him. He visited the gun shop on Main Street to retrieve his pair of “historic long rifles” that had been seized by police from his apartment in downtown Paterson months earlier following his eviction.
“I was unlawfully assaulted, arrested and falsely charged by the Paterson Police Department out of political retaliation,” said Cubby. He has a pair of pending cases, dealing with alleged corruption, against the city, he said.
On Apr. 25, 2019, police took possession of his weapons when he called them over a landlord-tenant dispute. He told police he had two weapons in his apartment. Police officers confirmed with National Crime Information Center (NCIC) neither of the weapons were stolen. He did not have a firearms identification card in his possession, but police confirmed with NCIC that Cubby does indeed own a firearms identification card, according to a police report supplied by Cubby.
Cubby owed his landlord, Fabian Alexandria, $4,227 in rent, according to court records. Cubby has claimed he was “illegally evicted” from his apartment. He alleged the landlord raised rent above the percentage allowed under municipal ordinance. He rejected the increase and held back rent money, he said.
Cubby met with both police director Jerry Speziale and police chief Troy Oswald at the police headquarters to regain his weapons without success. On Oct. 21, 2019, Cubby wrote to Speziale and demanded police return his property.
Cubby was ultimately told by police last Thursday that his weapons were being held by G&S Hunters on Main Street. He says he was told he needed just a driver’s license and firearms purchaser identification card. He went to the gun shop at about 2:30 p.m. for his weapon, but, he says, the gun shop demanded he pay a transfer fee.
“I told him I would not and that I was going to call the State Police to report the weapons as stolen as they had no valid reason to be in possession of my weapons,” said Cubby. He said the shop called police.
Police officials said standard process was followed in this case. Cubby had to pay a permit fee and a live background check fee, according to police officials. Police officials said when weapons are taken, police are required to transfer them to a gun shop for their owners to retrieve them.
Cubby disagreed. He said that process is used in cases of weapon seizure in domestic violence incidents.
Cubby said minutes later police responded to the shop’s call. He said there were 12-15 police officers outside and Main Street was blocked off. He asked police what they were doing expecting them to enter the shop and address the matter, he said.
“Can you step out of the shop?” Cubby recalled a police officer asking him.
He asked why.
“Because I told you to,” replied the officer, according to Cubby.
Cubby told the officer to wait and opened his phone to record.
A police officer grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the shop before he could star recording, he said. Another police officer put him in a choke-hold, he said, while others tried to push him to the ground.
“At this point I could not speak or breathe. The officers began to grind my face into the sidewalk,” said Cubby. He said one officer told him he’d die if he did not stop resisting.
Cubby claims he was not resisting the officers.
On Sunday, Cubby sent the chief and the director an email with his account of the event.
Speziale and Oswald said the matter has been referred to the Internal Affairs Division for investigation.
Police officer William Niebanck charged Cubby with criminal trespass for refusing to leave the gun shop after the owner wanted him out. He also charged him with resisting arrest by “flailing his arms in a defensive manor in an attempt to prevent” the officer from “effecting a lawful arrest.”
He was arrested and released three hours later, said Cubby.
Cubby was also charged with obstructing a business passageway for standing in the doorway of the gun shop.
Cubby has to appear before a municipal judge on Nov. 23, 2019.
Updated 7:50 p.m.