Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Court Report
By Richard Blassberg
Difiore Punishes Victim of Yonkers Police Brutality
Rui Florim, Nearly Beaten To Death By Yonkers Police in Hartsdale,
Arraigned On Fabricated Robbery and Assault Charges
Westchester County Court, White Plains
Judge Barbara Zambelli, Presiding
Last Monday morning, November 10th, Rui Florim, accompanied by his attorney, Tony Castro, appeared in Westchester County Court before Judge Barbara Zambelli for arraignment, together with Defendants Alex Millan and Oscar Garay, accused of acting in concert, aiding and abetting each other in their alleged “intent to cause serious physical injury to another person,” by their assault on said individual, an
off -duty Yonkers police officer at a restaurant and bar near the waterfront in Yonkers in the early morning hours of May 19, 2006.
Mr. Florim is charged in only five of the seven counts contained in the indictment, including two counts of Second Degree Robbery, one count of Attempted First Degree Assault, Assault Second Degree, and Assault In the third Degree, as a Misdemeanor.
It should be noted that although the incident from which the indictment stems, occurred approximately two and a half years ago, Rui Florim was not indicted until very recently, following his ling of a Civil Rights lawsuit in United States District Court against the six Yonkers police
officers who, in civilian clothing, followed him from his place of employment, in Hartsdale, in unmarked Yonkers police cars, unlawfully stopping him, and his companion, forcibly removing him and falsely imprisoning him as they mercilessly beat him nearly to death.
While it is obvious that bringing the indictment against Florim was clearly a retaliatory act, one must not lose sight of the fact that the Westchester District Attorney, once again, as in the Irma Marquez case, has made the willful decision to abuse the awesome powers of
her Office, and the civil rights of still another victim of Yonkers police brutality.
Prior to proceeding with Mr. Florim, Judge Zambelli engaged in a considerable effort to determine that Attorney George Nader, who was purporting to be representing both Oscar Garay and Alex Millan merely for the purpose of the arraignment, was, in fact, doing so only
for the limited purpose of arraignment in light of the fact that Millan and Garay were not joined in their defense and could not be represented
by a single attorney.
After inquiring, “Mr. Castro, are you ready,” and receiving an affirmative response, Zambelli proceeded to explain to Defendants Garay and Millan, individually, their “right to unfettered legal representation.”
Following Attorney Nader’s explanation that Oscar Garay would actually be represented by Attorney Joshua Martin, Zambelli proceeded to relieve Nader from Garay’s case.
Content that the representation issue between Garay and Millan had been resolved, Zambelli next returned to Rui Florim’s arraignment, asking Tony Castro how his client would plead.
Castro responded, “I am entering a plea of Not Guilty, Your Honor. And, I am asking that the present bail be continued.” Assistant DA John Thomas, seeming to affirm Mr. Castro’s position, told the Court, “Other than two misdemeanors, Mr. Florim has no other criminal record.”
At that juncture, Judge Zambelli, who had earlier made a point of stating, that she had no prior knowledge of the case, now asked ADA Thomas, “Can you tell me why one case has been two and a half years, and the other has just come forward?”
Thomas responded that his office, only recently, developed “new evidence implicating Florim.” Tony Castro then offered, “Your Honor, my client is 25 years old. He has lived in Yonkers all his life. There have been fifty adjourned appearances and, he has made every one of them.
With that revelation, Zambelli turned to Prosecutor Thomas, asking, “Is that true Mr. Thomas?” Thomas responded, “I did say he made every appearance.” The Judge came right back with, “But you didn’t say fifty.” Zambelli then conferred with Nader, Castro and Thomas, establishing a Motion and Appearance Schedule between December 2 and February 10.
ADA Thomas then offered, “In view of the voluminous discovery material, the People are consenting to “open box” discovery. Zambelli then asked, “Is there any Order of Protection?” To which, ADA Thomas responded, “No, Your Honor.” The Judge then merely uttered a single word, “Interesting.”
It should be noted that a few days prior to his appearance in Judge Zambelli’s Court, Rui Florim, accompanied by his attorney, Tony Castro, had appeared in Greenburgh Town Court to answer to bogus charges of Felony Assault, allegedly by Florim, against three Yonkers police
officers, growing out of the incident in Harstdale, which actually involved six Yonkers police officers who, in fact, had handcuffed, falsely
imprisoned, and punched Rui Florim into unconsciousness as they transported him to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers.
Those false charges, again the fabricated lies of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, were totally dismissed as acknowledged by the signed affirmation of Assistant DA Thomas.