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City to settle excessive force lawsuit against police

Officers accused of excessive force

The city of Rochester has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a federal lawsuit accusing city police officers of using excessive force.

In response to a document request submitted under the New York State Freedom of Information Law, city officials acknowledged the settlement in the lawsuit filed by Edna Cruz, administrator of the estate of David Montalvo Jr.

The lawsuit filed in January in U.S. District Court in Rochester accused several Rochester police officers of “unlawful conduct including assault, battery, false arrest, abuse of process, excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

Cruz was represented by the Russell Friedman Law Group in Garden City.

According to the complaint, Montalvo was “wrongfully arrested, seized, harassed, threatened, assaulted and battered, detained, abused, set out to public ridicule, and made to suffer injury to his good name … and his mental state of mind, without reason, legal basis, or justification,” according to the complaint.

Montalvo, who died on Jan. 6, 2021, was 45 at the time of the incident that led to the lawsuit. Montalvo had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, suffered from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Montalvo was aware of his diagnosis and struggled for years to obtain proper treatment, according to the suit.

In addition to his sister, Edna Cruz, Montalvo is survived by his son, Dominic Montalvo, his mother Nilsa Montalvo.

Before the incident that led to the lawsuit, Rochester police had previously responded to mental health calls involving Montalvo and were aware of his mental health conditions, according to the complaint.

On April 17, 2020, Montalvo was at his mother’s house on Glide Street when Cruz called 911 to get assistance for Montalvo, who was “having a mental health crisis,” according to the complaint.

When officers arrived, Montalvo was having a conversation with his mother and sister and was not a threat to himself or anyone else, according to the complaint.

But police “approached Montalvo aggressively, encircled him, and jumped him,” according to the suit.

The officers’ “threatening, taunting, mocking, and … racist actions towards decedent (Montalvo) reasonably cause him to fear for his safety and life,” the complaint claims.

The officers “used excessive and unnecessary force which ultimately caused (Montalvo) to sustain severe and serious physical injuries, according to the suit.

Officers “brutally beat decedent (Montalvo) to the point that he was in and out of consciousness,” the suit claimed.

Montalvo was “punched, kicked, and … beaten with a baton,” the suit claims.

Montalvo suffered a fractured jaw, bruises, and a broken wrist.

After the alleged beating, officers mocked and laughed at Montalvo, according to the suit.

Montalvo was hospitalized for eight days.

In a letter to U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer, on Thursday, Cruz’s attorney, Pablo A. Fernandez, asked for the proceedings to be stayed “to allow the parties time to exchange, review, and execute the settlement documents.”

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