NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
Printable versionSend to a friendEmail Leonard Levitt

No-knock raid proposals offered

June 26, 2003

The city should provide counseling to families who were victims of no-knock raids by police, Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields said yesterday.

The recommendation was one of 14 from Fields, who also suggested that police be prohibited from interrogating minors or handcuffing children or the elderly who pose no threat to them. Fields also suggested that police take medical personnel on raids.

Fields' recommendations follow the death of Alberta Spruill, 57, a city worker who suffered a heart attack after a no-knock raid on her Harlem apartment on May 16.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have apologized for the incident. An internal police investigation revealed a series of procedural lapses. So far, three police supervisors have been disciplined over the incident, including the transfer of Assistant Chief Thomas Purtell, who headed the Special Operations Division.

On May 28, Fields opened a no-knock hotline. More than 120 people called with stories of faulty police searches, she said. A number testified at a hearing she held on June 5.

One who testified was Eric Adams, a police lieutenant and president of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. Adams has maintained that Kelly ignored the problem of no-knock warrants several times in the past.

Capt. Brian Burke, a police spokesman, said yesterday that the department had received Fields' report and was reviewing its recommendations.

The report recommends the city make available free counseling services "to provide children and families with a way to cope and understand the emotional ordeal that follows the execution of a warrant."

"Quite often family members, particularly children, suffer emotional trauma as a result of witnessing a warrant execution in their home," Fields' report said. "Several parents and children reported lasting behavioral and emotional impact following the execution of a warrant."

« Back to top

© 2003 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.