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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Family of Man Shot Dead Sues Cops and Town

Family of armed man shot dead by Ramapo officer sues cops, town
The Journal News by Steve Lieberman - February 15, 2011

The family of a man armed with a knife who was shot dead by a Ramapo police officer has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officers involved in the December 2008 shooting that a Rockland grand jury found justifiable. Ramapo's attorney denied the allegations in the federal lawsuit seeking $25 million and will ask U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Karas to dismiss the legal action. William Jackson claims in the lawsuit that Officer Edward Pascocello used excessive force when he shot his son Thomas on Dec. 24, 2008, and the younger Jackson never threatened the officer's life. The contentions accusing the police of negligence are based on Jackson's live-in girlfriend of eight years, Barbara Jean Nesi, who was inside the house at 96 Hempstead Road with Jackson and the two officers. Ramapo is accused of not properly training the officers in the lawsuit filed by Amy Bellantoni, a former Rockland prosecutor who is part of the Westchester law firm of Jonathan Lovett and her husband, Rory Bellantoni. Ramapo Town Attorney Michael Klein said Pascocello and Officer Monika Sitarz acted properly and Pascocello defended himself against a knife attack by Jackson. Nesi called the police and told them that Jackson had locked himself inside the bathroom with a knife and was suicidal, Klein said. Jackson also had a history of substance abuse and mental health issues. Ramapo police Capt. Brad Weidel said Tuesday that the department cannot comment on legal actions. On Christmas Day 2008 after the shooting, Weidel said at a news conference that Jackson "was coming at one of our officers with a knife. The act of shooting we consider an appropriate use of deadly force to defend himself." SLIEBERM@LOHUD.COM

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