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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

1st Department Alert: City’s Summary Judgment Motion DENIED Against Murder-Suicide NYPD Officer’s Girlfriend

On September 22, 2015, the 1st Judicial Department, Appellate Division, DENIED a motion by the City of New York to grant summary judgment against the plaintiff in the case of Keyla Gonzalez v. City of New York. In this case, an NYPD officer murdered his girlfriend, the plaintiff’s mother, before killing himself. The plaintiff sued the City for negligent hiring, training, supervising, and retaining an NYPD officer that had complaint of violent propensity. While the police officers testified that they have denied ever receiving even a single complaint about the offending officer’s alleged violent propensities, the City was informed on numerous occasions about the abusive conduct toward the decedent and the plaintiff.

“The negligent retention or supervision of a police officer,” said the Court, “which results in the employee having possession of a dangerous instrumentality, is similar to if not indistinguishable from the tort of entrusting a dangerous instrumentality to another . . . . The duty not to entrust a gun to a dangerous or incompetent police officer thus extends to any person injured as a result of the negligent entrustment.”

“When an officer misuses his weapon, a jury might reasonably find that the misuse was proximately caused by the government’s negligence, if proven, in supervising or retaining a police officer with known violent propensities. Furthermore, it was reasonably foreseeable that such an officer would injure a member of his own family, including his girlfriend.”

And even though the officer was off duty, the Court still found that New York has “declined to draw a bright line rule that would preclude recovery in a negligent hiring or retention claim in situations where, as here, the City employee was not acting within the scope of his employment.”

If you, or anyone you know, are the victims of brutality or abuse by City employees, make sure to discuss your potential rights with a trial lawyer. Decisions like this make it possible for those who have been hurt by employees of the City to recover against the City for failing to protect New Yorkers.


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