The Family of George Tillman — Killed By the NYPD — Hires Jeffrey Lichtman

The family of George Tillman has hired the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman and the Law Office of Marc Fernich to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of Mr. Tillman by four NYPD officers during the early morning hours of April 17, 2016.  Following this investigation, a civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 may also be filed against the NYPD.  George was shot 13 times, including once in the head and in the back, after officers claimed they approached him during an investigation for having an open container and he raised a gun towards them. Eyewitnesses who are not associated with the NYPD claim that George never raised a gun toward the police.

George Tillman Was Not A Violent Criminal and Witnesses Said He Did Not Point a Gun at Officers

George was a married father of five, a licensed electrician and union member – not a violent gang member, not someone who had just robbed a bodega or had just engaged in any violence.  His crime, according to law enforcement, was having an open container in a low-crime area of Queens.  For that transgression, two unmarked police cars drove up to him and began a confrontation which ended with four officers shooting him 13 times including some shots to his back.  There has been no effort by the NYPD or the Queens County District Attorney’s Office to reach out to the Tillman family or their representatives since the shooting — in strong contrast to the Attorney General’s Office, which is now reviewing the shooting and may possibly take over the investigation as Special Prosecutor.  Instead, Police Commissioner Bratton has lectured the Tillman family and their counsel about George getting what he deserved – based solely on his review of the story told by the officers who killed George, not the witnesses at the scene who did not see George take out any weapon or threaten any officer.  Not surprisingly, the Queens County District Attorney’s Office also has resisted the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to oversee the investigation.  Our position has been — along with that of the Reverend Al Sharpton of the National Action Network — that the appointment of a Special Prosecutor is the best way to ensure that the public is satisfied that an independent and fair investigation of the Tillman shooting is done fairly and transparently.  That the NYPD’s immediate reaction to the shooting death of Mr. Tillman was the tweeting of a picture of the gun allegedly found on George after he was killed instead of explaining to the family why he was shot 13 times obviously and understandably raises some suspicion regarding the officers’ actions.

What We Expect to Learn During Litigation 

During such a litigation, we expect to learn about the training NYPD officers have regarding confrontations with individuals they claim possess a weapon, the criteria used to determine whether to stop an individual who simply has an open container of alcohol and the number of officers required to investigate an open container.  In this case which led to the death of Mr. Tillman, there were at least two unmarked police cars filled with plainclothes officers who chased Mr. Tillman and ultimately shot him to death.  We also expect to learn why Mr. Tillman was shot 13 times including in the back – when the officers claim he was aggressively threatening them with a gun – from the front.  We also will delve into the histories and behaviors of each of the shooters and their involvement in any violence while on the force.  The bottom line is that if a fair investigation and justice are not provided to George and his family, we will take it ourselves for them.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman To Discuss Your Criminal or Civil Rights Case

Jeffrey Lichtman has a reputation as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in New York for over 25 years and also vigorously represents individuals in federal civil rights actions, including cases involving false arrests, malicious prosecutions, illegal searches and seizures, and other police misconduct. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today.