The Other ‘Accidental’ Death Haunting Staten Island’s 120th Precinct

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The two NYPD officers placed on desk duty in Staten Island's 120th precinct following Eric Garner's death may soon be joined by three colleagues who may have played a role in the 2013 death of 52-year-old Irving Mizell. The Civilian Complaint Review Board panel investigating Mizell's death recently recommended disciplinary action against officers who arrested him at his girlfriend's apartment building before his “accidental” death, finding that they used excessive force and failed to seek medical attention.

According to a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court this week, the officers who arrested Mizell in March of last year “viciously beat and assaulted him while dragging him down seven flights of stairs.” Two and a half hours later Mizell collapsed at the 120th precinct after complaining of difficulty breathing. He later died. Though a medical examiner ruled the death “accidental,” blaming alcohol and Valium, the wrongful death suit points to “blunt impact injuries to the dead man’s head, torso and extremities, multiple cuts and a bruised lung,” the Daily News reports.

“To say his death was an ‘accident’ is absurd,” the lawyer for Mizell's family, Thomas Giuffra, told the paper. “It’s shocking to me that this could happen in New York City in the 21st century.”

The officers involved in the Mizell case, who remain on duty, are the latest black eye for the 120th precinct. In the weeks since Garner's death, the precinct has been exposed as a haven for lawsuit-prone officers and accused of racism by local business owners.