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The Arizona officer under scrutiny for mowing down an armed-robbery suspect with his car was previously the subject of a lawsuit in New York, documents show.
Dash-cam footage recorded on two police cruisers released publicly this week shows Officer Michael Rapiejko steering directly into suspect Mario Valencia in Marana, Arizona. The graphic video has raised further questions about excessive force amid a rash of alleged police brutality cases and shootings.
Rapiejko was an officer with the NYPD before he moved to Arizona, according to NBC New York.
NBC station KVOA reported that the officer was the subject of a civil lawsuit in New York stemming from an October 2005 incident which was ultimately settled for $20,000.
According to court documents, the plaintiff said he was with his wife and four kids in Manhattan when he parked and got out of his car, KVOA reported. The plaintiff claimed that at that point, Rapieko approached him, pointed his gun and ordered him back into the car. According to KVOA, the suit alleged that Rapiejko threatened to shoot, handcuffed the plaintiff and choked him.
Rapiejko's defense team denied the allegations but acknowledged Rapieko had pointed a gun and ordered the plaintiff back into his car. Documents show that the city of New York agreed to pay the plaintiff $20,000 in exchange for the plaintiff dismissing all the claims, according to KVOA.