Bobby Lopez suffered a fractured skull after being taken down by undercover NYPD officers on Aug. 16, 2016. Surveillance camera video (below) of the takedown outside Lopez's apartment building was recently made public.
"I remember waking up in the hospital," Lopez told WABC.
According to Lopez, he spent several days in the hospital and has permanent head injuries from what he calls excessive force by the cops, who were in plainclothes.
Lopez told the news station that he was holding the door open for the police when they rushed him and knocked him down some stairs.
Lopez doesn't recall anything about the arrest, which required emergency brain surgery, including the removal of part of his skull.
"I prayed basically 12, almost 24 hours," Lopez's mother, Enid Mora, recalled. "I didn't leave my son's [side]."
Lopez was handcuffed to his bed in the hospital, where police charged him with selling marijuana and resisting arrest.
"We provided the video to the DA's office and that's when the DA, after reviewing the video, eventually agreed that Mr. Lopez did not do anything wrong and dismissed the charges," stated Ugo Uzoh, Lopez's attorney.
"They had nothing on me," Lopez countered. "When they injured me, all I had was my wallet and my cellphone."
Lopez's plans to go to college have been delayed because of his injury, and he is not able to play basketball.
"I love playing basketball and I couldn't play now ... a basketball to the head could kill me," Lopez added. "And I love drawing, but me keeping my head down too long to draw starts to give me a headache."
On Feb. 15, he filed a lawsuit against the NYPD and the specific cops involved for false arrest and use of excessive force.
The lawsuit asserts that Lopez was standing outside the apartment building while his brother, Jason Perez, walked a dog inside, noted the Gothamist.
According to the lawsuit, the officers asserted that Lopez handed several bags of marijuana to Perez, who was also arrested when he came outside to check on Lopez. The surveillance video did not show any marijuana transaction, or the cops searching Perez, reported the Gothamist.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis issued a statement to WABC on Feb. 15:
The officers, who were assigned to the Narcotics Division, were attempting to take the subject into custody in connection with a drug charge when the suspect attempted to flee. One of the officers grabbed the suspect's shirt as he tried to get away and the suspect fell down a stairway pulling the officer along with him.
The officers' actions were reviewed by the office of the Manhattan District Attorney and they determined that there was no criminal conduct. The NYPD is conducting an internal review of the incident, as is the case whenever a prisoner is injured while in custody.