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When NYPD officers responded to a call about a suicidal man in his twenties on October 14, 2015, they found 86-year-old John Antoine standing in his kitchen with a knife in one hand. Without further investigating what was going on with the elderly man, who was holding an onion in the other hand, the cops allegedly tasered him twice.

“It is scary to think that our police force has such a lack of communication amongst each other,” said lawyer Scott Rynecki, who claims his client was not suicidal, but only cooking soup, the New York Daily News reported. He added that he has notified the city that he intends to file a $5 million lawsuit against them on behalf of Antoine.

Rynecki also claims that the octogenarian was the victim of excessive force by the NYPD officers and was lucky he didn’t lose his life when cops burst into his home on Bergen St, in Brooklyn. He added that the police acted irresponsibly, considering the fact that they were given the name of the alleged man who was supposed to be contemplating suicide and they were also told his age.

The 23-year-old boyfriend of Antoine’s granddaughter was supposed to be the man who police were searching for. The young man had allegedly run out of medications he was taking and started to act emotionally disturbed, according to Rynecki.

Police had reportedly received a call that the man was suicidal after a representative of the family’s health insurance provider had spoken with his girlfriend about him running out of meds earlier in the afternoon. He allegedly gave the 63rd Precinct the boyfriend’s name and age, but the call was passed onto a different precinct by a precinct cop who called 911, because the home was located in a different area.

The cops from the 77th Precinct, who responded to the call, had only been given the information that there was a suicidal man at the address, but not his age or name, according to a review of the dispatch tapes by the Daily News. The dispatcher had attempted to call the 63rd Precinct for more information, but got a recorded message, therefore she gave the patrol cops from the 77th the only information she had.

When the cops burst into the home and tasered Antoine, his granddaughter and her boyfriend were not present because they had gone out to get his prescription refilled, according to the notice of claim. Thinking it was his granddaughter who had returned to the building, Antoine buzzed in the cops, who found the apartment door ajar.

After being ordered to drop the knife he was using to slice ingredients for the soup he was cooking, Antoine was rewarded by being tasered when he asked the police what they were doing in his home.

“The police came in and say, ‘You so and so, put down the knife,’ and I said, ‘Why are you coming in my apartment? What do you want?’” Antoine, a retired pipe-fitter, told The News. “They wouldn’t tell me,” he added.

Antoine claims that he felt a pain in the back of his head as he turned his back on the police to place the knife he was holding on the kitchen table. It was later discovered that despite it not being a recommended procedure, a police sergeant had fired a Taser into Antoine’s neck.

The police also fired a Taser into the leg of the elderly man who said later “I felt like I was dead.”

To make matters worse, Antoine was later charged with harassment on account of his alleged refusal to drop the knife. This happened after police had taken him to two different hospitals where doctors said he was not mentally incapacitated.

“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,” an NYPD spokesman said, claiming police had responded appropriately. “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,’” he added.


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