By ERICA PITZI
pix11.com | @wpix
6:58 PM EDT, October 5, 2012
BROOKLYN, NY (PIX11)
Outrageous. Disgraceful. Unacceptable. Those are the words used by the lawyer of a Brooklyn mother who recently received a letter from a law firm representing the city, saying that she owes damages to the cop car that struck and killed her son.
"I started crying, it hurt me so bad, it really hurt me so bad," said Laverne Robinson on Friday.
In April, Robinson's son Tamon was struck and killed by a cop car. Police say they saw him stealing stones from a housing project in Brooklyn. The officers say they were using the car to block Tamon's escape from the building. But the unarmed 27-year-old somehow slammed into the front end of the car and suffered a deadly head injury.
Months later, on September 27th, a law firm representing the city, sent a letter to collect $710 in damages done to the cop car.
Overwhelmed, Robinson called attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who has represented victims in high profile cases against the city.
"It's a disgrace! How dare the City of New York demand payment for damage to a police vehicle in which the police officer is under investigation for a criminal act by the district attorney in Kings County!" exclaimed Rubenstein.
Rubenstein has already filed a notice of intent to file a wrongful death suit against the city, seeking $20 million in damages.
Rubenstein says he's waiting to file the actual lawsuit once the DA's office finishes its investigation.
"There are many who believe he was run down by this vehicle and that he didn't run into the vehicle," Rubenstein told reporters.
With all this mother is going through, this letter seemed to pour salt on an open wound.
"It's a form of disrespect. They have been disrespecting my family since the whole incident," said Robinson.
The law firm that sent the letter told PIX 11 it received the claim among a pile of claims and was not given any circumstances. "We did not even know Mr. Robinson was deceased," said a lawyer with the Offices of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP. He added, "We have stopped the claim."
Late Friday, a spokesperson with NYC's Law Department sent this statement to PIX 11:
"We regret that Mr. Robinson's family received a collection notice. The notice was sent in error. We recognize that this involves a tragic case."