Family of woman fatally stabbed in NYC apartment says police failed to intervene, waited an hour to enter
The family of a New York woman who was followed into her apartment and stabbed more than 40 times has filed a lawsuit accusing police officers of idly standing by her door as she was fatally attacked.
Christina Yuna Lee, 35, died Feb. 13, 2022, in her Chinatown, Manhattan, apartment.
Police have that said Assamad Nash followed Lee into her apartment around 4:20 a.m., stealthily trailing her up six flights of stairs and forcing entry into her unit. Once inside, he repeatedly stabbed her, authorities previously said. Nash has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges.
A complaint filed May 12 in New York County Supreme Court by Lee's aunt and administrator of her estate, Boksun Lee, accuses members of the NYPD of negligence in the slow response and failure to provide immediate medical care.
The NYPD on Friday said did not comment on the case, citing pending litigation.
Neighbors called 911 after hearing Lee's screams, and one of those calls came in at 4:22 a.m., the suit states.
Three minutes later, two unnamed members of the NYPD from the 5th precinct, located about three blocks from Lee’s apartment, arrived to Lee’s unit and heard her shouting for help “until she abruptly stopped screaming,” the complaint said.
Instead of breaking into the unit, the officers spoke to Nash through the closed door, the complaint said.
“Despite having reasons to believe Ms. Lee’s life was in imminent danger,” the officers “failed to gain entry to Ms. Lee’s apartment or otherwise provide her with any potentially life-saving police or medical assistance at that time,” the complaint said.
Seven other members of the NYPD arrived at 5:30 a.m. — more than an hour after a neighbor called 911 and the first officers heard the woman screaming, the complaint said.
At 5:40 a.m. — one hour and 20 minutes after Lee was attacked — members of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit forced entry into Lee’s apartment, the lawsuit said.
She was found fatally stabbed and pronounced dead at 5:55 a.m., according to the suit.
The complaint said that during and after the attack, responding NYPD members “denied and/or reasonably delayed providing Ms. Lee with police assistance and emergency medical treatment causing her pain and suffering and contributing to her death.”
It also accused New York City of failing to maintain Sara D. Roosevelt Park, located near Lee's apartment, which had "significant public safety conditions."
The complaint noted a stabbing death that happened just outside the park Oct. 16, 2021. Court documents said the “dangerous conditions” in the public park operated by the city “contributed to the harm and suffering” of Lee.
New York City's Legal Department did not immediately return a request for comment.
The suit alleges wrongful death, conscious pain and suffering, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, denial or delay of medical care, and negligent hiring, screening, retention, supervision and training of the officers. The suit further says that the defendants violated the New York State Constitution in depriving Lee of her life without due process of law.
The family seeks a jury trial, punitive and unspecified compensatory damages.
Lee, a Rutgers University graduate, was a senior creative producer at Splice, a digital music platform, Variety reported.
Nash, who was not named in the suit, was charged with first-degree murder, burglary and sexually motivated burglar. He pleaded not guilty in March 2022.
Prosecutors said that Nash had an extensive record in New Jersey and that at the time of Lee’s killing, he was out on supervised release in three open cases. If he is convicted, he faces a sentence as long as life without parole.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com