Cocaine and Conspiracy

Were the Deaths in Custody of Two Suspected Drug Users ‘Accidental’ or Police Brutality?

No one wants to answer questions Acosta insists will reveal what really happened to Dionicio Medrano. "Did the police department conduct an investigation? Who are the officers who apprehended Medrano? Where are the 911 tapes?" Without these answers, the family cannot know all the facts surrounding Dionicio's death or even if arresting officers were implicated. (The NYPD did not return calls for comment.) On November 27, 1996, the Medrano family notified the city it intended to sue the NYPD for $10 million. The notice of claim alleges that officers "struck [Medrano] about the body and face with blunt instruments," which caused his death.

Jida Medrano says her brother was getting his life back together. He had applied for a higher-paying position in the construction company he worked for, to help provide for his then three-year-old daughter and an unborn child. "This job required a urine analysis," she says. "My brother wasn't someone in the street looking for a high. He worked real hard. He was tall and strong."

Additional reporting: Amanda Ward

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