Three homeless people who live across the street from the White House are suing the U.S. Park Police for harassment that they say includes being abused, kicked and poked with night sticks.
The lawsuit filed Thursday came after Park Police killed another homeless man from that same park who charged at an officer with a knife and was gunned down on the sidewalk on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the presidential mansion.The lawsuit alleges that Marcelino Corniel, 33, who was shot Tuesday morning after he chased U.S. Park Police officer Stephen J. O'Neill with a knife, had been kicked and prodded by O'Neill a few hours earlier.
Corniel was shot by another park policeman, identified Friday by Lt. Kent Bowen as Jeff Leon Capps. Corniel died Wednesday night after undergoing surgery twice.
The incident was highly publicized because of its locale, the fact that it was captured on videotape and because it was one of a string of violent episodes near or directed at the White House.
In the pauper's suit filed in U.S. District Court, two women and a man who frequent Lafayette Park allege a pattern of harassment by O'Neill and another park policeman named only as "Keness."
The officers regularly accused the homeless who sleep in the park of violating a no-camping regulation, the complaint said.
"It has been the custom of officers O'Neill and Keness to accompany their threats with kicks, prodding with nightsticks, and banging signs with nightsticks even when there is no question that those attending are not camping," the complaint added.