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May 12, 2012 10:32 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Reaches $70K Settlement In Wrongful-Death Suit

May 16, 2012 10:57 AM

Southampton Town has reached a $70,000 settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a Brooklyn man who died hours after the Town Police allegedly delayed taking him to the hospital after he ingested several grams of cocaine during a raid in the summer of 2008.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on July 23, 2009 by the family of Tony Bradway, who was tasered twice by police in an attempt to prevent him from ingesting cocaine that he was trying to conceal, charges that the 26-year-old died as a result of the officers’ “deliberate indifference to a serious medical need”—namely, Mr. Bradway’s need for medical attention after swallowing the drug at the time of his arrest on June 9, 2008. The suit notes that Mr. Bradway died from “seizures and multiple systems failure” caused by “acute cocaine intoxication,” according to an autopsy completed by the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office.

Town Police officers had arrived at a Shinnecock Hills home on the morning of the raid as part of an investigation, and had already arrested a woman, when they saw Mr. Bradway sleeping in the living room, according to documents. When they escorted him to the dining room, officers noticed that he was chewing on something and had a white residue dribbling down his chin. Police ordered him to spit out whatever he was chewing on, but he refused to comply, officers testified. Police testified that they tasered him in an attempt to prevent him from ingesting a “lethal dose of cocaine.” He spit out a plastic bag but continued to chew, officers testified. When he refused again and began to chew more vigorously, he was tasered a second time, they added.

Police also testified that they told Mr. Bradway he would have to be taken to the hospital.

Following Mr. Bradway’s arrest, Police Officer Eric Sickles told then-Sergeant James Kiernan, the supervisor of the Town Police’s now-defunct Street Crime Unit, that he believed Mr. Bradway may have swallowed some cocaine. Sgt. Kiernan ordered Mr. Bradway to be brought to police headquarters in Hampton Bays, the lawsuit states. Sgt. Kiernan processed the arrest and recalled that Mr. Bradway, after initially acting normal, began to provide inconsistent answers, prompting Sgt. Kiernan to transport him to the hospital, it notes. He testified that it took Officer Sickles “less than 20 minutes” to return to headquarters to take Mr. Bradway to the hospital. Sgt. Kiernan said Mr. Bradway initially refused to go to the hospital.

Mr. Bradway was admitted to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead shortly after noon that day and was pronounced dead there about seven hours later. He had told hospital staffers said he swallowed between 4 and 5 grams of cocaine, according to the lawsuit.

The settlement, which is dated February 7, 2012, was reached roughly around the time it came to light that the Suffolk County district attorney’s office had launched an investigation focusing on record-keeping and other matters involving the Town Police. Sgt. Kiernan, who is now a lieutenant, was recently suspended by the Town Board pending a hearing on 32 disciplinary charges filed against him by Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. Most of those charges involve acts of “misconduct and malfeasance” that he is alleged to have committed while supervisor of the department’s Street Crime Unit, a special undercover investigation team that focused on the illegal drug trade and arrested Mr. Bradway.

Chief Wilson, who joined the department last year, disbanded the unit after 20 years of existence. The unit, which had included one sergeant and four police officers, was fully phased out by November 2011.

The $70,000 settlement does not indicate guilt or liability on the part of the defendants, who include former Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and a half dozen police officers, according to a copy of the stipulation of settlement obtained by The Press via the Freedom of Information Law. Rather, it states that the accord is merely a means to resolve the matter and avoid the expense of protracted legal proceedings.

In addition to the town, Ms. Kabot, Lt. Kiernan and Officer Sickles, the other defendants named in the suit are police officers Vincent Cagno, Steve Frankenbach, David Peters, William Kiernan and Gaspar Montalbano. James and William Kiernan are brothers.

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Once again, THE BAD GUY, the victim, swallowed 4-5 oz of cocaine that he had or bought!!!! And once again, a judge has ruled that the taxpayers should pay!!!! Come on. HE SWALLOWED THE COCAINE TO AVOID IT BECOMING EVIDENCE IN A TRIAL. If he did not swallow it, he'd still be here.
By trurepublician (53), hampton bays on May 14, 12 12:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
sorry, but they knew he harmed himself, and failed to take him to the hospital.

whether he is a criminal or not, they had an obligation to seek medical attention as far as im concerned.
By tm (174), mtk on May 14, 12 1:14 PM
It isn't really clear based on the article how much they actually knew and how much they may have suspected. Did the man say, Hey just ain't 4-5 oz of cocaine? would you actually know that someone had eaten cocaine by looking at them?
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on May 23, 12 10:42 AM
Sorry to say trurepublican, a judge did not "order" that the taxpayers should pay as there was no trial - the Town 'settled" - costing taxpayers what it cost. Big difference.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on May 14, 12 6:13 PM
Why would they settle with this guys family? HE WAS A DRUG DEALER?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 14, 12 11:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
By chief1 (2800), southampton on May 14, 12 11:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
protect and serve, doesnt mean protect and serve (those who we like or feel like protecting and serving).

They watched this guy harm himself and failed to act. Whether he deserved what he got (and he probably did) is irrelevant.
By tm (174), mtk on May 15, 12 3:31 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By steve457 (22), southampton on May 15, 12 8:32 AM
What ever happend to freedom of speech----------who is the 27east censor!!!!
By steve457 (22), southampton on May 15, 12 10:32 AM
You are welcome to resubmit the comment--without the obscenity. We have a strict policy about the use of obscenities in the comments at 27east.com.
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on May 15, 12 10:36 AM
Allow decorum to permit your response.

I've re-posted, and less irrationally thanks to the Editor.

By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 19, 12 3:19 AM
... but no policy regarding the same in the Southampton Press as per last week's letter to the editor?
By William Rodney (561), southampton on May 15, 12 7:33 PM
The town got off cheap this time. Police have an obligation to protect all from hurting themselves.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 16, 12 12:06 PM
WTF?!?!?! Are you people kidding me?!?!?! Tazered or not the guy was going to die! A) He was a drug dealer out here from the city bringing drugs into YOUR community (and your defending him?) and B) I don't think anyone would live after ingesting 5 grams of cocaine at once!! As far as I'm concerned the guy killed himself!! To blame the individuals who risk their lives on a daily basis to PROTECT THE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS is bulls**t!! Just sayin'
By lilnc (4), PATCHOGUE on May 17, 12 8:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hey eastend68...the cops have an obligation to protect ALL from hurting themselves?!?!? Then I guess you think we should each have our own personal cops following us around on a daily basis...the cops jobs are not to protect us from ourselves you idiot!!! What planet do you live on?
By lilnc (4), PATCHOGUE on May 17, 12 8:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
dont be ridiculous. of course they shouldnt follow everyone around, BUT, if they are standing there and watching you harm yourself in whetever fashion, then yes, they have an obligation to act.

Like it or not.

God forbid if you got into an accident, or needed police assitance for whatever reason, would you want them making a moral judgment about you prior to deciding whether they want to protect and serve you?
By tm (174), mtk on May 18, 12 10:56 AM
...and they did act, but apparently you don't know the entire story. LIKE IT OR NOT!!
By lilnc (4), PATCHOGUE on May 19, 12 12:39 AM

A potential "addict" chose to dispose of "evidence" by ingesting it. He was not cared for, nor protected, despite his "disadvantage".

Is one year's "salary" too much to ask, for a "life"?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 19, 12 3:16 AM
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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on May 26, 12 6:39 AM