Justice Committee Statement On the Death of Denis Reyes in NYPD Custody
The Justice Committee sends heartfelt condolences, strength and love to the family of Denis Reyes. We have many questions regarding the NYPD’s treatment of Mr. Reyes after they arrived at his home in response to his mother's call to 911. Mr. Reyes' mother, Blanca Sierra, was trying to get help for her son. He needed care and assistance.
What happened during the 40 minutes Mr. Reyes was alone with police officers, after they forced his mother to leave and held his brother is another part of the apartment. What were the officers doing that made him yell, "Stop, you're hurting me" and injured his face? Why wasn't his family allowed to help de-escalate the situation especially when Mr. Reyes was calling for his brother? Was Denis Reyes dead when EMS took him out of the apartment, as his mother suspects?
The NYPD has a long history of dehumanizing and brutalizing some of New York’s most vulnerable residents, those with mental illness. The stories of Iman Morales, Khiel Coppins, Shereese Francis and Mohamed Bah are eerily similar to this one. Given this, it is of utmost importance that there be swift and thorough criminal and departmental investigations into this case.