A man has accused an officer at the Human Resources Administration in New York City of assaulting him when he tried to apply for food stamps. It’s the second abuse claim leveled at the agency in less than a month.

In early August, a local TV station aired a report on a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by an HRA peace officer in 2017. The officer was convicted of the crime and sentenced to five years in prison. After seeing that news story, a man came forward to say that he had been physically assaulted by another HRA peace officer in April. He said he got into a verbal disagreement with the officer while trying to apply for food stamps. During the exchange, the officer allegedly threw him against a wall, handcuffed him and took him to a back room. Once they were in the room, the officer reportedly punched him in the head until he fell to the ground and then kicked his body until he lost consciousness.

The man was charged with harassment and disorderly conduct. He was then taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries. Hospital records indicate he suffered a head injury during the assault, and the charges against him were eventually dropped. The HRA issued a statement saying that it was investigating the man’s claims of abuse.

Police officers are generally not permitted to use excessive force when dealing with the public. Victims of police brutality might wish to speak to an attorney about their legal options. The attorney could review the case and see if the officer violated an individual’s rights during an interaction or an arrest. If so, the attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.

Source: WABC, “7 On Your Side exclusive: More claims of physical abuse by welfare agency police“, Jim Hoffer, Aug. 17, 2018