2005-10-28 / Front Page

Woman Claims Police Beat Up Teen Son

By Howard Schwach

A Far Rockaway woman has charged that police officers from the 101 Precinct beat her son and forced him through a chicken shop’s front plate-glass window although he had done nothing wrong.

Alana Peppers of Hassock Street told The Wave that her son, Jameek Peppers, 18, two of his younger brothers and a friend were walking home from playing basketball at the Sorrentino Center on Cornaga Avenue at about 8:30 p.m. on October 7, when the four decided to stop at Crown Chicken to get something to take home.

Peppers says that the boys ordered and were standing outside the shop waiting for their food when a police officer came from across the street and asked them what they were doing. According to Peppers, the boys were told, “Get inside the restaurant,” by the cop.

When the boys did not respond quickly enough, the woman says, the cop threw him against the wall and in the struggle the two went through the restaurant’s plate glass window, injuring a man and his young son sitting inside.

She says the cops then beat Jameek, stomping on his head and handcuffing him before taking him to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he required 23 stitches in his leg and buttocks.

Official sources, however, tell a different story.

A police source told The Wave that Peppers “resisted arrest vigorously” and “refused to comply with a police officer’s orders.”

We used the necessary force to subdue him,” the source said. “In the tussle, both he and the police officer went through the window.”

Court records said that Police Officer Christopher Barbieri of the 101 Precinct saw Peppers and his friend, Amin Luna engaged in “wrestling” with each other in front of the restaurant. When he went to tell him to stop, Peppers allegedly punched Barbieri in the head. Police Officer John Florio, who was standing in front of the precinct house and saw the punch, rushed across the street and tried to grab Peppers.

Florio says in his deposition that Peppers continued to punch at the officers and flail his arms to avoid being handcuffed. During that altercation, Florio says, Peppers pulled Barbieri through the window, injuring Mario Fernandez-Acosta and his son, four-year-old Jason Fernandez- Acosta.

According to the district attorney’s office, Peppers was charged in a criminal court complaint and arraigned on October 8 on charges of assault, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a minor, harassment and disorderly conduct.

Attorney Ronald Nir is representing Peppers.

“Based on what I know, this does not seem to be lawful police conduct,” Nir told The Wave. “We have passed the case to the NYPD’s Integrity Bureau for investigation.”

Nir thinks that the police story does not ring true. He says that witnesses have told him that a black officer, who uttered racial slur at Peppers, tussled with the teen and went through the window with him, despite that fact that neither of the two officers listed in the official record, Florio and Barbieri are black.

Peppers was released on his own recognizance. His next date before Judge Joseph Zayas will be November 15, according to the DA’s office.

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