To the New York City Council Members,
I am a reporter with Raise the Voices, an advocacy journalism organization. We are writing and publishing a report on Deion Fludd, who was beaten by NYPD officers after being arrested for fare evasion in 2013, and who died of his injuries shortly thereafter.
On May 5, 2013, Deion Fludd was 17 years old. After he and his girlfriend entered Rockaway Station on one card swipe, officers at the station attempted to arrest the two minors for fare evasion. Less than an hour later, he was badly injured, with an open skull fracture and spinal fractures that rendered him a quadripilegic. Less than three months later, he died from those same injuries.
While offices involved claim that Deion fled into the train tunnel and was then hit by a train, that story is disputed by both Deion’s family and Deion himself, before he died. According to Deion’s mother, Deion told her before his death that he was never hit by a train, but was instead beaten by police officers after he fled through the train tunnel and attempted to climb onto the subway platform at the Ralph Avenue Station.
At this point, we are unaware of any investigation into this incident besides an IAB investigation that was closed 72 hours after Deion’s arrest, and which failed to interview either Deion, his family, or any witnesses at Ralph Avenue. Additionally, the officers failed to report the events of that night. With such utterly disparate reports, a full investigation must be opened into the circumstances surrounding Deion Fludd’s injuries and death. The punishment for fare evasion should not be a deadly beating, and if, as seems clear, NYPD officers did in fact brutally beat a minor, causing injuries that led to his death, and then lied about the incident in a prior investigation, they must be held criminally responsible for their actions.
The names of the offices involved are Md S. Ahammed, Daniel J. Badillo, John P. Deleon, Marc P. Edelstein, Faisal Harun, Michael J. Mckenzie, Samuel Negron, Anthony L. Panetta Randy C. Paulsaint Christopher M. Spicer, and Alberto L. Valentin. The only disciplinary action we are aware of related to this incident are warnings and loss of vacation days.
Has your office taken any further action to investigate the contradictory reports surrounding the circumstances of Deion Fludd’s death? If you have not, will you commit to taking that action now, and opening an investigation and pursuing disciplinary action against the officers involved?
What are you doing to prevent tragic events like this in the future? It seems clear that the IAB investigation regarding this case was closed because they believed the reports of the police officers, and did not bother interviewing further witnesses based on that.
What are you doing to ensure that NYPD officers do not lie in reports or in investigations in the future? We know that just recently during protests in Buffalo NY an officer filed a report saying an old man “tripped and fell” even though there was video proof that shows he was pushed by police.
How will you ensure the validity of your investigations in the future, so that the people of NYC can trust the conclusions of those investigations as truthful results and not in-house coverups?
This letter will be posted publicly as part of our advocacy journalism, along with any response from your office.
Thank you, Chetan Soni
Reporter, Raise the Voices