Before bashing teen, Staten Island cop was named in 2014 abuse lawsuit: ‘What the police did was not called for’

Ellen Moynihan/New York Daily News/TNS

The Staten Island cop suspended for allegedly pummeling a teenage girl during a bus stop brawl was previously accused in a lawsuit of assaulting another woman, whom he also called a “c---,” the Daily News has learned.

The city settled the 2014 lawsuit against Officer Nicholas Scalzo and two other officers for $29,000, court documents reveal.

Scalzo was suspended without pay Tuesday after video surfaced on social media showing him repeatedly striking 14-year-old Kyonna Robinson in the head as he responded to a fight among youths at a bus stop near the Edwin Markham Middle School in Port Richmond.

In the 2014 civil complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, Scalzo was accused of abusing his authority when he assaulted a woman during a wild scene outside a house party thrown by Staten Island resident Sadie Miles in honor of two deceased relatives.

Miles’ daughter, Gloria Gorham, claimed Scalzo and the other officers threw her against the door of a patrol car and used excessive force while taking her into custody during the Aug. 25, 2013 celebration.

Scalzo and the other officers were questioning Gorham’s relative outside her mother’s home and demanding to see some ID when several family members, including her daughter, asked what was happening, according to the complaint.

When Gorham approached the crowd, the officers told her to mind her “f------ business,” court papers indicate. Scalzo also called her a “c---” during the interaction, Gorham claimed.

Gorham walked away, but ran back after she heard her daughter crying for help. When she ran up, Scalzo forcefully shoved her twice to the ground.

Several other officers beat and maced her as they took her into custody, nearly breaking her arm in the process, the lawsuit states.

The officers called her an “animal” as they brought her to the 121st Precinct, she claimed. After several hours, she was taken to Staten Island Hospital South with a concussion and cuts about her body.

Scalzo claimed in a deposition that Gorham had been interfering with an investigation and tried to bite him. He said he had to pull the Staten Island mom off of another cop and admitted to striking her in the back before cuffing her and putting her in a patrol car.

In the car, Gorham used both feet to kick out the window of a patrol car, the Staten Island Advance reported.

She then kicked the officer in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground, according to the report. Scalzo suffered a concussion, a cut on his finger and swelling to his wrist, the outlet added.

Miles and two other relatives were assaulted during the clash with police, said Gorham’s attorney Andrew Bersin. He believes that race played a role in how Scalzo, who is white, and the others treated his client, who is Black.

“It was a family get-together. What the police did was not called for,” the lawyer said. “My feeling is if this was a white family they wouldn’t have gone in there looking to do damage.

“It was harassment and they were just looking for trouble,” Bersin claimed.

Gorham was charged with felony assault, resisting arrest and destruction of government property. She ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, court records show.

In the lawsuit, Gorham said she agreed to the plea deal “because she had no faith in the system and was concerned about future employment,” court records indicate.

The city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board reviewed the 2013 incident and exonerated Scalzo on abuse of force allegations, finding his actions were consistent with NYPD policy.

On Tuesday, video posted online showed Scalzo punching Kyonna about nine times as she backs away from him and other teens try to pull her away. She threw a few punches of her own before flailing her arms in an attempt to break away from the cops, the video shows.

“It happened so quick, I couldn’t even think straight,” Kyonna told the Daily News on Wednesday. “I just thought they were going to break up the fight and take us to the precinct.”

An investigation into Scalzo’s actions is underway, NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Thursday.

“Very few people who saw that video were not concerned,” Sewell said in an unrelated press conference at police headquarters.

Scalzo and the other officers were trying to break up “a violent fight” when “someone interfered in that apprehension and actually struck our officer,” she added.

“The force that officer used to stop that interference in that arrest and to custodialize that person is under investigation,” she said. “We understand that our communities are very important in making New York City safe. We immediately made sure we addressed the concerns of that community.”

Mayor Adams, who previously said that he was “not happy” with what he saw on the video, plans to visit the Edwin Markham Middle School in the coming days, concerned with the violence that sparked the clash with police.

“I believe that officer was wrong,” Adams said. “But let’s peel that back. That little baby was going to school and she was being jumped. We can’t normalize this. We can’t continue to ignore the violence that is really engulfing our young people.”