NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Laura Zilioli and Victor Rivera, two victims of assault at the hands of New York City Human Resources Police Officers, as well as their supporters, today demonstrated outside the NYC HRA Police Department office at 12 West 14th Street in Manhattan. Rivera and Zilioli called on the NYC Department of Investigation to release their reports on the attacks on Rivera and Zilioli and for the City to further investigate what appears to be a troubling pattern of sexual abuse and brutality at the hands of HRA police officers over the past year.
"We do not think it is a coincidence that two violent events occurred at the same location at the hands of HRA officers within approximately one year. In fact, we believe there are other men and women who have been victimized but have not yet come forward," Michael F. Rubin, of Kelly & Rubin LLP, both victims' attorney, said.
"There is no debate about whether these attacks occurred. In July, John Lugo, a former Sergeant in the HRA Police Department, pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of Ms. Zilioli and was sentenced to five years in prison," Mr. Rubin said. A federal lawsuit is currently pending against Lugo and the City.
"The officer who assaulted Victor Rivera, P.O. Lamar Baker, has yet to be arrested, even though Mr. Rivera was taken to the hospital directly from the HRA to treat his injuries," Mr. Rubin said. "Unfortunately, the DOI has refused to release the result of its investigation into this incident. What are they hiding?"
"These two victims have exposed what appears to be a troubling pattern that could point to a systemic problem, and one that surely must be addressed by a thorough investigation by the Department of Investigation," Mr. Rubin said. "It is especially troubling that both assaults occurred in the same secluded office in the HRA building."
"Even if the City won't act, we are doing our part to seek justice," Mr. Rubin said, announcing a federal lawsuit on behalf of Rivera, the second against the City for HRA police abuse.
Ms. Zilioli said that she is speaking out publicly because she believes others might have also been abused by Lugo and other HRA officers and wants to encourage any others who may have been assaulted by Lugo or any other law enforcement officer to step forward. "I never want anyone to go through what I had to go through," Ms. Zilioli said.
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SOURCE Kelly & Rubin, LLP