Benny T. Warr and Nina M. Warr vs. Anthony R. Liberatore, Joseph M. Ferrigno, II, Mitchell Stewart, II, James M. Sheppard and City of Rochester
United States District Court Western District of New York
Case No. 13-CV6508-DGL-MWP
This is a police brutality case which is scheduled for trial on January 22, 2019 in United States District Court in Rochester, New York. On May 1, 2013 at 8:15 p.m., 52 year old Benny Warr was waiting at the bus stop at the northwest corner of Bartlett Street and Jefferson Avenue in Rochester, New York. Mr. Warr is a one leg amputee and utilizes a motorized wheel chair for traveling distances. He has a prosthetic leg which he uses for walking short distances. On the evening in question, Mr. Warr noticed that two (2) City of Rochester police officers were clearing the sidewalks and asking people to disperse under the policy “Clearing the Block.” While Mr. Warr was sitting in his motorized wheelchair waiting for the bus, he was approached by City of Rochester police officers Joseph Ferrigno and Anthony Liberatore who demanded Mr. Warr leave. Mr. Warr politely told the officers that he was waiting for the bus. One of the Officers then replied back “f—en move”. At this time, Mr. Warr again politely responded that he was waiting for the bus. Officer Ferrigno immediately responded by spraying mace/pepper spray in Mr. Warr’s face. Officer Liberatore then suddenly and violently pushed Mr. Warr’s wheelchair over causing Mr. Warr to fall over and slam onto the sidewalk on his left side and left stump. This incident was video recorded and posted on youtube.com by Tache Young who is also known as Shakur Muhammad. The incident was also caught on Blue Light Camera video which was installed by the City of Rochester at this intersection. After Mr. Warr’s body slammed onto the ground, his prosthetic leg flew off and the police officers then jumped on Mr. Warr and began striking and kicking him in the stomach, chest, back, head and other areas of his body while he was lying on the sidewalk. The Blue Light camera footage clearly shows Officer Liberatore looking to his right and left before delivering an elbow strike (an “untrained technique” as per RPD standards) to Mr. Warr’s head as he was lying defenseless on the ground. The Blue Light camera footage also showed Officer Ferrigno delivering knee strikes to Mr. Warr’s abdominal area as he was lying helpless on the sidewalk. The Blue Light camera footage has also been posted to youtube.com. After the assault, Mr. Warr continued to lay on the sidewalk for 25 minutes before an ambulance arrived and transported him to Strong Memorial Hospital for medical treatment. Mr. Warr was thereafter charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest but both charges were eventually dismissed when an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal was granted by Rochester City Court. Charlie Burkwit represented Mr. Warr on these charges. As for injuries, Mr. Warr suffered three left rib fractures, head pain, neck pain, back pain, left hand numbness, bilateral shoulder pain, left elbow and arm pain, left hip pain, left leg pain at the hip joint and stump, post traumatic stress disorder, chest pain, stomach, internal injuries, abrasions and scratches around the wrist since the handcuffs were too tight, burning to the facial area and eyes due to pepper spray together with other physical injuries. Mr. Warr continues treating for his injuries. As part of his lawsuit, Mr. Warr is seeking compensatory damages for past and future medical expenses and pain and suffering, punitive damages against the individually named police officers and reasonable attorney fees. Mr. Warr is very appreciative for the tremendous support he has received from the community, the support group “Enough is Enough” and United Christian Leadership ministry in Rochester, NY which continue to advocate for an end to police misconduct and brutality in the Rochester community.