One NYPD cop was part of a foot chase that left a 17-year-old boy paralyzed and cost the city $12 million but remains on the job. A second, known as “Bullethead,” has been sued 48 times costing taxpayers more than $1 million but was promoted anyway.
The two cops are named in an analysis released Monday by the Legal Aid Society naming the 10 NYPD cops with the most lawsuits filed against them over the last decade and the 10 involved in the highest legal settlements.
Earlier this month, a Legal Aid analysis showed $50.5 million in settlements for alleged police wrongdoing so far this year through July 28. At that rate, the city will fork over more than $100 million in NYPD-related settlements by year’s end, more than in four of the past five years, the society estimated.
Jennvine Wong, a staff attorney with the society’s Cop Accountability Project, noted that despite disturbing allegations in the lawsuits the officers in both lists remain on the job and have been promoted to sergeant or higher.
“So long as NYPD leadership continues to allow problematic officers to rise through the ranks … our clients will continue to shoulder the consequences and the general public’s trust of the NYPD will remain fractured,” she said in a statement.
But Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, quickly pointed out that lawsuits aren’t reliable indicators of how well an officer does their job.
“Lawsuits are frequently settled for reasons that have nothing to do with the actions of a specific police officer named in the suit, including cases where city settles rather than fighting a frivolous suit in court,” Hendry said in a statement.
“The Legal Aid Society knows the truth, but they don’t care. Their goal is to smear police officers with unproven allegations to help their criminal clients escape justice.”
The cop known as “Bullethead,” David Grieco, is closing in on 50 lawsuits filed against him. He was promoted to sergeant in 2017. The city has settled lawsuits against him for a total of $1.1 million, The News previously reported.
Grieco is now assigned off the street to a coveted spot in the office of the Chief of Crime Control Strategies, which tracks and compiles crime statistics, NYPD records show.
Pedro Rodriguez remains a police officer and is assigned to the 72nd Precinct in Brooklyn despite his role in the May 2018 foot chase that left 17-year-old Jimmy Alvarado paralyzed.
According to the lawsuit, Rodriguez and his partner Pavel Kuznetsov chased Alvarado and Kuznetsov tackled him, breaking the boy’s neck.
Rodriguez then helped handcuff Jimmy and tried to make him stand up, the lawsuit alleges.
Kuznetsov resigned from the NYPD in 2018 and was hired by the St. Petersburg, Fla., police force. New York City settled Alvarado’s lawsuit for $12.05 million.
In his affidavit filed as part of the lawsuit, Rodriguez says he tried to chase Alvarado but could not keep up with him and returned to his car without even seeing Kuznetsov tackle the boy. He writes he helped Alvarado to a seated position against a lamp post
John Nuthall, a PBA spokesman, said Rodriguez was merely present for the incident and was not involved in tackling the boy yet Legal Aid keeps putting out the officer’s name with the huge settlement attached as if Rodriguez was solely at fault.
The NYPD did not have immediate comment on the Legal Aid report.