Wednesday, July 28, 2010

College-bound teen suffers fractured skull, brain damage after being slammed to ground by cops

BY Rocco Parascandola

Wednesday, July 28th 2010, 4:00 AM

A Brooklyn teen who was about to start college spent four days in a coma after he was slammed to the ground by cops in a post-barbecue beatdown, his mother and lawyer say.

Rahiym Holmes, 18, suffered a fractured skull and brain damage in the July 11 incident.

He cannot walk without help and may never fully recover, said his lawyer, Leslie Kelmachter, who will file a notice of claim against the NYPD today. "We want there to be a full and thorough investigation," Kelmachter said. "We believe there should be criminal charges.

"There was no evidence that Rahiym was doing anything wrong when he was tackled."

The NYPD said Internal Affairs is investigating the incident.

Police would not say why Holmes was stopped or why he was issued a desk appearance ticket for misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

His mom, 37-year-old Channell Barber, said it pains her to see her son, a high school football player who was about to start classes at Kingsborough Community College.

And it is just as frustrating to explain the incident to her 11-year-old son, Donte, she said.

"I always stressed to them to keep a clean record, stay in school and do good," said Barber, who works for Con Edison. "For something like this to happen, it's very, very difficult."

The circumstances around the injury are still murky. His family said Holmes was not able to speak about the incident and did not remember what happened.

That night, Holmes was at a barbecue at the Canarsie Pier when police arrived about sunset to disperse the crowd.

Holmes and two friends set out to walk the mile back to East New York, where they live.

Witnesses told Kelmachter that at some point, uniformed officers taunted Holmes, then got out of their patrol car on Cozine Ave., near Pennsylvania Ave.

Holmes put his hands up, Kelmachter said, to no avail.

"The officer - and we don't know why he zoomed in on Rahiym - he basically body-slammed him," she said. "He struck his head on the ground and was vomiting and bleeding at the scene."

It is unclear why Holmes was given the ticket, which was handed to his mom at the hospital. Holmes spent four days in a coma and has since been transferred to Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. The notice of claim accuses police of excessive force, assault, false arrest and false imprisonment.