Remember Maksim Gelman, the lunatic who went on a stabbing spree that resulted in the tragic deaths of four people and 28 hour manhunt throughout the entire city? Well, the last person Gelman attacked, 42-year-old Joseph Lozito, is suing the city for failing to intervene when he was being attacked by Gelman on the subway with police in view of the whole incident, according to a report by the New York Post.
Lozito, who suffered seven stab wounds mainly to the back of the head and face, recognized Gelman on an uptown 3 train and tackled him to the ground. According to Lozito, police officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor, who were stationed in the adjacent operator’s cab, did nothing until Lozito managed to pin Gelman to the ground.
In their defense, the city is (somehow) arguing that a police officer has no “special duty” to protect a citizen, even if they are being attacked in plain sight.
The city’s arguments are even murkier considering that the original NYPD affidavit claimed that it was Howell who had heroically tackled Gelman, not Lozito. According to the Post, it was this point that angered Lozito and spurred his lawsuit:
Lozito says a grand-jury member later told him Howell admitted on the stand that he hid during the attack because he thought Gelman had a gun.
An angry Lozito decided to sue the city for negligence, arguing the cops should have recognized Gelman and prevented, or reacted more quickly to, the assault.
The city routinely settles such litigation but is playing hardball with Lozito, insisting his demand for unspecified money damages be tossed because the police had no “special duty” to protect him or any individual on the train that day.
Experts say it’s a long-standing legal precedent requiring police to put the public safety of all ahead of any one individual’s rights.
Is it just me, or is this one of the most convoluted and bumbling defenses ever put forward? Police officers encounter crazed killer and either fail to recognize him or are hiding from him in fear. Crazed killer tries to kill a citizen in plain sight of police officers. Stabbed citizen pins killer, cops finally emerge, take credit for stopping said lunatic, then later claim they were not obligated to assist a citizen getting brutally stabbed in plain sight. Y’know, allegedly, or something.
Whether or not Lozito’s bizarre case goes to trial is now in the hands of a judge.