John Antoine, an 86-year-old man, was cleared of criminal charges on March 7 stemming from an incident in October 2015 when a New York City police officer tased him while Antoine was cooking in his Brooklyn home.
"I feel good that my name is cleared," Antoine said outside a criminal court in Brooklyn, notes the New York Daily News.
Antoine was mistaken by the cops for the 20-something boyfriend of his granddaughter. The senior was tased in the neck and leg by police, who said that Antoine refused to drop his kitchen knife, which he was using to prepare his meal.
After about five months, an assistant district attorney admitted that a mistake was apparently made when an NYPD dispatcher failed to tell a 911 operator that the suicidal man at Antoine's address was the boyfriend.
Antoine was subsequently charged by police with “harassment,” and taken to two hospitals for mental health evaluations. He was found to be perfectly fine according to Antoine's lawyer, Scott Rynecki, who is planning to sue the city for $5 million.
“We’re very thankful that Mr. Antoine did not suffer a heart attack or die as a result of being Tasered,” Rynecki stated.
The granddaughter’s boyfriend was allegedly suicidal because he ran out of medication. The granddaughter and the boyfriend had left the apartment to get the medication refilled, according to legal papers filed by Rynecki, reported the New York Daily News in January.
“The police came in and [said], ‘You so-and-so, put down the knife,’ and I said, ‘Why are you coming in my apartment? What do you want?’” Antoine told the newspaper. “They wouldn’t tell me.”
Antoine recalled that he turned around to put his knife down and felt the Taser prong in his neck.
“I felt like I was dead,” Antoine stated.
An NYPD spokesman defended the officer's actions: “The individual he encountered inside the residence was armed with a large kitchen knife and was in immediate proximity to both the sergeant and a 3-year-old who was present in the residence. The individual refused to comply with the sergeant’s commands to drop the knife, instead making statements to the effect, ‘I am not going to jail, I’m not going to the hospital.’”