City of New York v. Female Hispanic Police Officer

In a recent civil trial, a Brooklyn Federal Jury, found NYPD Officer Yahaira Llano, Shield # 8492,  used excessive force and awarded the Plaintiff damages in the amount of $10,000 (Case 1:17-cv-06062-ARR-SMG).  When attorneys' fees are added in, the amount owed could balloon to around $250,000.

While 99% of the time the City pays (See, in this instance, the City is in Court fighting to make sure that it is this Officer and not the City that is on the hook.  If the City prevails against this female Hispanic officer, she will likely end up owing a quarter of a million dollars despite Mayor De Blasio having said of such instances, "the financial penalty will not fall on the officer" (See  

If the City gets its way and is allowed to abandon this officer (and other officers like her), the results would be a hit to Officer Llano's finances, the morale of the NYPD rank and file, and to New Yorkers who were hoping for a better NYPD.  Consider:

  • $250,000 is a lot of money when you are on a NYPD salary;
  • if the City does not have to pay for misconduct they are not incentivized to train better;
  • it is going to become harder to hire new officers;
  • more officers will retire out of fear of a financial catastrophe;
  • officers will need to start carrying insurance (if they can find it)
  • the City will be less safe if officers stop investigating potential crimes fearing they could be end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars if they make a mistake
​What happened in the case:

In April 2015, Office Llano (female Hispanic) was a beat cop doing night patrol in a tough part of Brooklyn where there had been a number of recent car break-ins reported, when she came upon an individual pulling on a vehicle’s door handles.  According to her lawyer, Officer Llano and her partner began investigating and during their investigation the individual (later ID’d as Malik McLeod) failed to show ID, tried to leave, was gesticulating wildly and became aggressive.  When Malik McLeod got too close she warned him to calm down. When he continued his belligerence she punched him once.  

Malik McLeod later brought a lawsuit against Officer Llano alleging excessive force. While the City typically steps in to defend Officers, this time they left this female police office of color to fight for herself.  Without the City’s ability to pay a pre-trial settlement or having access to the seasoned lawyers of the NYC Law Department, she was forced to trial and lost.

When I became a civil rights attorney I wanted to change the City by making the City pay for its officers' misdeeds believing that if the City feels the financial pain they will be forced to institute changes (e.g., better training, body worn cameras, etc.).  I always believe the City would stand by its officers.  I may be wrong.  It was the City’s decision to put Officer Llano on the force. It was the City’s decision to put a rookie cop in a difficult spot where she made the wrong choice in a split second decision.  It's the City's choice to leave her in the cold.  Don't let the City pass the buck for its decision.  Contact your elected officials now and tell them you stand with PO Llano.

*The information above is general information meant for educational purposes, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any person who views it.   If you think you need personalized legal assistance, always speak with a qualified attorney. Remember: Results vary. Prior Results do not guarantee future outcomes.

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