Sharpton calls for inquiry in alleged NYPD assault
By DAVID B. CARUSO – 2 hours ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Saying that police brutality is not an issue of color, the Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday joined the cause of a white man who claims that a group of officers sodomized him with a walkie-talkie.
Sharpton called for a thorough, independent investigation of Michael Mineo's allegation that five officers tackled him in a subway station, then violated him with a radio antenna after his baggy pants either fell down or were pulled off.
Mineo, 24, was hospitalized for four days after the Oct. 15 incident. He was back in the hospital this weekend being treated for what his lawyers said was continued bleeding, problems urinating and severe pain.
"Many of the critics say I only fight for black causes," Sharpton said at his Harlem headquarters. He dismissed that perception as misinformed, and said it didn't matter to him that Mineo was white and the group of accused officers was racially mixed.
Sharpton visited Mineo at the hospital Saturday.
He castigated the police department for denying that anything improper took place before the investigation was complete.
"I do not know what happened, but I do know that we cannot allow the police to be the only investigative body," he said.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office also is investigating.
The police department has verified that officers chased Mineo and grabbed him, but described the encounter as a "scuffle," and said his account of being sodomized was not supported by civilian witnesses.
A department spokesman said the officers had suspected Mineo of smoking marijuana, but let him go after writing him a ticket for disorderly conduct.
Mineo had a friend drive him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed as having been injured by an "anal assault," according to discharge papers reviewed by The Associated Press.
His lawyers said they had interviewed three witnesses who corroborated some of Mineo's account.
Attorney Stephen Jackson said one witness, who he would not identify, verified that Mineo had blood on his pants and hands as he was led out of the subway station. Jackson also said a witness saw blood smeared on the window of the officers' car.
Mineo's legal team has advised him not to speak with journalists for now.