I-Team: Bronx Man Alleges Civil Rights Abuse by 42nd Precinct Cops in Federal Lawsuit

What to Know

  • The Cotto family claims officers in the precinct are retaliating against them
  • Angelo Cotto's mother says problems escalated when she rebuffed one officer's sexual advances
  • The NYPD is also looking into whether cops in the precinct pressured teenagers to lie in criminal cases

A Bronx man has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that his civil rights were repeatedly violated by NYPD officers in the 42nd Precinct in the Morrisania section. 

Nineteen-year-old Angelo Cotto was arrested in April after police responded to a call of a domestic dispute. They said Cotto refused to leave the location and resisted arrest. His family provided video to the I-Team that appeared to show one officer hitting Cotto in the face and another pulling his hair.

Cotto later claimed that he was put in the back of a patrol car and choked so forcefully he passed out. 

A criminal complaint against Cotto said the young man spit at an officer and tried to kick out the window. 

The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is now conducting an investigation into Cotto's arrest and other complaints against officers in the 42nd Precinct. Multiple teenagers told the I-Team they were pressured to lie in criminal cases and threatened with beatings.

The Cotto family’s attorney, John Scola said, "It’s sad. I mean, we’re in a neighborhood where these people are hunted."

Cotto has been arrested six other times and said all of the cases were dismissed. 

In court papers, the Cotto family claimed they have been targeted for retaliation by officers in the 42nd Precinct for years.

In April, the same month Cotto was arrested on charges of assault and resisting arrest, the New York City Comptroller’s office paid the family $72,000. They had claimed cops barged down their front door and ransacked the apartment with no warrant.

Cotto’s mother, Elizabeth Rosado, said the problems escalated after she rebuffed the sexual advances of one of the officers. 

Cotto's younger brother, 16 year-old Antonio, a high-school student with no criminal record, was arrested in early October outside of a bodega and charged with gun possession. He denied having a gun. 

Both Cotto brothers are due back in court in December.

A city spokesman said any lawsuit will be reviewed.

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