The firm represents the family of Samuel Angel Cruz who was fatally shot on May 26, 2013, at his home by officers of the New Rochelle Police Department. The officers were responding to a 911 call placed by the Cruz family after they were worried about Cruz's mental state. Cruz suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He took medication to control his illnesses, but it is possible that he stopped taking his medication which contributed to his family's concern for his mental health. When the police officers arrived, they spoke to Cruz through his locked door and repeatedly and loudly banged on Cruz's door, causing him great alarm and to fear for his life. His wife, Elsa Cruz, was present at the scene, advised the police officers of her husband's mental state and asked them to let her speak to Cruz but the police officers refused her requests. The officers then forced open Cruz's door and without justification or cause, Office Steven Geertgens discharged his firearm, striking Cruz in the chest; ultimately causing his death. It is also believed that medical treatment was withheld from Cruz for approximately one hour after he was shot.
On October 22, 2013, in federal court in White Plains, the wife and daughter of Saumel Cruz filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of New Rochelle, seeking new emergency response protocols for cases involving emotionally distrubed persons, as well as $21 million in compensatory damages. The suit also names officer Steven Geertgens who shot and killed Mr. Cruz.
To view the Notice of Claims, please use the following links: Elsa Cruz's Notice of Claim,
Frances Cruz's Notice of Claim.
To view press coverage of Elsa Cruz v. The City of New Rochelle, et al. and Frances Cruz v. The City of New Rochelle, et al, please use the following links:
The Journal News:
Lawyers: Haste Led to Samuel Cruz's Death
Police Kill Emotionally Disturbed Man, Family to Sue
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Fatal Police Shooting of Samuel Cruz in New Rochelle