When Cops Run Amok

Another pepper-spray incident that defies logic

Veras was held for 16 hours in the precinct and released with a fistful of tickets. Later, when his back pain persisted, a doctor told him that his vertebrae had been damaged. "I've never had problems in the past with my back," Veras says. "Now I feel nervous around police. When you do things like they did, you lose the trust of the people who are supposed to protect you. No one tried to calm the situation. No one said anything positive."

Veras says he was an honor student who graduated magna cum laude from Lehman while also working full-time jobs. "This might jeopardize my career," Veras says. "Everything I worked for could be thrown in the garbage over this."

Milner noted that police also charged Veras's mother with disorderly conduct, even though she was just a passenger in the car and did nothing.

Luis Veras: from magna cum laude to 'Get the fuck out of the car, asshole.'
C.S. Muncy
Luis Veras: from magna cum laude to 'Get the fuck out of the car, asshole.'

Veras's complaint is backed up by a recording of the disturbing 911 call, which was obtained by the Voice. In the call, Veras can be heard saying: "A lot of cops are harassing me in front of my house. I would like to speak with a sergeant. They are banging on my car window."

The 911 operator asks where he is but then says she will connect him to Internal Affairs.

"You hear that? I'm scared right now," Veras replies. "They are banging on my window, and they want to break my glass."

A few seconds later, you can hear yelling by the officers and Veras screaming and coughing. "My legs, they are going to take me out right now. Oh, my God."

An officer shouts: "Open the door. Open the fucking door."

And then the recording ends.

More than a year later, the misdemeanor charges are still pending. Veras is appealing the traffic tickets.

The Voice will post the disturbing 911 call to our website at villagevoice.com.

grayman@villagevoice.com

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