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Heroin addict gets $11M payout reduced in NYC traffic stop gone awry

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A heroin addict who won an $11 million verdict from the city over a Bronx traffic stop gone awry should have his large payout partially reduced, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Raoul Lopez sued the city in 2007 after a cop shot him in the neck during a traffic stop a year earlier, leaving him partially paralyzed on his right side.

The city claimed that the officer only fired his weapon as another cop was being dragged by Lopez’s car as he tried to flee.

Conversely, Lopez claimed he fumbled to hand over a bag of heroin to the officers, dropping it on the ground. And when he reached for it one officer shot him, prompting him to drive over the median. But his body slumped down, causing him to hit a planter and an officer was hurt in the process.

A jury in 2019 found the city liable in the case and awarded Lopez the hefty sum for past pain and suffering, future medical expenses and future pain and suffering.

The scene of the shooting and traffic stop involving Raoul Lopez on February 1, 2006.
The scene of the shooting and traffic stop involving Raoul Lopez on Feb. 1, 2006.
Robert Stridiron for NY Post

In its Tuesday ruling, the Appellate Division, First Department agreed with the jury that the city should be held liable in the case — but said the verdict needed to be reduced from $5 million to reflect a lower amount for future medical expenses.

“While we thus see no reason to upset the liability portion of the verdict, we do find that the court erred in upholding the award for future medical expenses,” the unanimous decision from Tuesday reads.

The decision said that Lopez should either agree to take a roughly $700,000 reduction or a new trial should be held to determine damages he should receive solely for future medical expenses.

City Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said, “We believe this officer’s split-second response was justified under the circumstances and probably saved his partner from being dragged to death.

“We’re pleased the award was reduced by $700,000, and we’re looking into whether there are grounds for further appeal.”

Lopez’s lawyer Brett Klein told The Post, “We are pleased the appellate court has validated the jury’s verdict that excessive force was used in this case.”

The scene of the shooting and traffic stop involving Raoul Lopez on February 1, 2006.
The scene of the shooting and traffic stop involving Raoul Lopez on Feb. 1, 2006.
Robert Stridiron for NY Post

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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

Ferry1

An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

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The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”

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