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Update as of July 19, 2017@ 7:30pm
WHITE PLAINS, NY and YONKERS, NY — July 17, 2017 — The Federal Civil Rights lawsuit filed against the City of Yonkers and Yonkers Police Officer Wayne Simoes was settled on July 10, 2017. While the Federal Criminal Case exonerated P.O. Simoes of wrongdoing with respect to Ms. Irma Marquez, a home health aide at the time of the March 3, 2007 incident.
Ms. Marquez was recognized and witnessed by way of surveillance video footage to have suffered a concussion, a fractured jaw, both eyes black and blue, facial lacerations, bruises, swelling of her neck, torso among other parts of her body. The video recording tape, reviewed by then Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore’s Office, revealed that P.O. Simoes lifted Ms. Marquez off her feet, driving her face onto the ceramic tile floor of La Fonda Restaurant, located at 57 Palisade Avenue, Yonkers, New York. P.O. Simoes thereafter handcuffed and charged the unconscious and seriously injured woman with Obstruction of Governmental Administration and arrested her. The catalyst that fomented this conduct was initiated when Ms. Marquez leaned over to get a better perspective of the medical assistance being provided to her niece who was earlier rendered unconscious when struck by another unapprehended assailant. It was on May 9, 2008 that a jury acquitted Ms. Marquez of all charges.
“If anyone other than a police officer was caught on tape doing what Officer Symoes did to Irma Marquez they would have rightfully been arrested and prosecuted,” said Gary T. Certain, Esq., of Certain & Zilberg, PLLC, attorneys for Ms. Marquez. Mr. Certain, who represented Irma Marquez in the criminal case, and filed the Federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, added, “This case suggests that Janet DiFiore’s Office may not be capable of honestly prosecuting egregious police misconduct.”
Certain & Zilberg, PLLC continued to represent Ms. Marquez in the Federal Civil Suit that followed and was argued in the Federal Courtroom of Hon. Cathy Seibel.
The City of Yonkers was represented by Wilson Elser, and Wayne Simoes was represented by the Quinn Law Firm, legal counsel for the PBA.
Yonkers Corporation Counsel Michael V. Curti, Esq. advised: “Following mediation sessions with a federal magistrate judge, a settlement in principle has been reached. While the plaintiff has approved the settlement, the City’s governing body must now consider it. I cannot comment upon the amount of the settlement until a resolution is presented to the City Council for consideration, which will likely be in early August.”
Gary Certain, Esq., on behalf of Certain & Zilberg, PLLC, by email advised: “We are pleased to have been able to reach a resolution that brings some measure of closure to Ms. Marquez. It is our hope that this settlement, along with the City of Yonkers’ recent settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice will pressure the Yonkers Police Department to treat members of the public with appropriate dignity and respect.”
Yonkers Tribune sources advise the settlement agreement between the three sides, e.g. Wilson Elser, on behalf of the City of Yonkers, The Quinn Law Firm on behalf of P.O. Wayne Simoes, and Certain & Zilberg, PLLC, on behalf or Irma Marquez was agreed upon to the tune of $1.25million in favor of Ms. Irma Marquez.
Updated Addendum – July 19, 2017 – 7:30pm
It was only after Wayne Simoes was exonerated from criminal wrong doing that the City of Yonkers (CoY) decided to take on the defense of Simoes with respect to the Federal Civil lawsuit. The Quinn Law Firm is alleged to have spent its own funds to defend Simoes in the first case, the Federal Criminal Lawsuit. The amount of money spent by the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association has never been divulged and has yet to be divulged or even audited. What is known is that then PBA President Eddie Armour and then PBA V-P Keith Olson cajoled The Quinn Law Firm to take on the Simoes case while funds were to be collected for Simoes’ defense. To that end, and with the knowledge that a defense would be expensive, the PBA membership had been asked to chip in a donation of $100 per person to cover the expected legal fees expected. While over $40,000 in cash was said to have been collected, only a few thousand dollars were given to Simoes, yet no accounting of the alleged missing money has ever been divulged. When a Yonkers DPW worker was caught by a surveillance camera overlooking PBA V-P Keith Olson’s desk, from which $300 was allegedly taken, did V-P Olson suggest that the money “stolen” from his desk was part of the money collected for Simoes’ benefit.
From the time the initial criminal charges were dismissed to the civil suit moving forward, Yonkers City Hall deemed it appropriate to exonerate and indemnify Simoes from the legal burden. Over some time Simoes was elevated to Yonkers Police Sergeant. Simoes’ new rank in the Yonkers Police Department caused his union representation to move from the Yonkers PBA to the Yonkers Captains’ Lieutenants, Sergeants Association (CLSA). The Quinn Law Firm had then represented both unions.
Yonkers City Hall had decided to engage the services of the very well respected and expensive law firm of Wilson, Elser on behalf of Simoes. WIlson, Elser bill by the hour. The services they have rendered on behalf of Simoes over the decade they have been involved in this case have not been divulged.
§ C12-11 Civil Action Against Police Officers and Police Supervisors; Defense and Indemnification review panel.
[Added 7-13-1989 by L.L. No. 12-1989; 11-4-2008 by L.L. No. 10-2008]
The City of Yonkers shall provide for the defense of any civil action or proceeding brought against a duly appointed police officer of the City of Yonkers and shall indemnify and save harmless such police officer from any judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction whenever such action, proceeding or judgment is for punitive or exemplary damages arising out of a negligent act or other tort of such police officer committed while in the proper discharge of his/her duties and within the scope of his/her employment.
The determination of whether any such police officer properly discharged his/her duties within the scope of his/her employment shall be made by a majority vote of a three-member panel. The panel shall consist of the police commissioner, the corporation counsel or his/her designee and the Mayor or his/her designee.
At issue for CoY is who are the three so designated persons that had to have voted in the above mentioned three-member panel, what was their vote, what the final vote was, and who voted in the majority?
The most relevant concern for Yonkersites is how much will these known and not known costs add up to burden the taxpayers?