New York Daily News

October 7, 2003

Suing con who shot him

Cop targets gunman's 633G medical payout

By PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Almost 30 years after a transit cop was shot and seriously wounded by a turnstile jumper, he is still trying to make the gunman pay.

Salvatore Ciafone saw Ibn Kenyatta sentenced to 15 years to life for the 1974 shooting that left him partially disabled.

But now, the retired cop is going after the $633,500 Kenyatta - who's still doing time - won in a medical malpractice settlement from the state prison system.

Last week, Ciafone, 62, got some good news from a Westchester judge who ruled that under the state's Son of Sam law, he can sue for a share of Kenyatta's windfall.

"If an attempted cop killer can pay for the pain and suffering that he inflicted, then he should be made to pay," said Al O'Leary, spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "It seems to be a fair thing to do when a police officer is shot in the line of duty, protecting the community."

Ciafone, who declined to comment yesterday, is seeking $1million in damages for "the physical injuries, emotional anguish and financial loss resulting from the crime," according to court papers.

On Jan. 30, 1974, Ciafone spotted Kenyatta jumping the turnstile at the IRT subway station at 149th St. and Third Ave. and tried to arrest him. Kenyatta knocked Ciafone to the ground, took his service revolver and opened fire.

The cop was hit five times inthe legs and remains partially disabled. Kenyatta was convicted in 1976. Over the years, he has maintained his innocence and repeatedly been denied parole.

In 1999, he won a settlement after filing a lawsuit charging that state prison officials denied him treatment for a urinary tract infection.

His lawyer, Lenox Hinds, said Kenyatta's condition worsened to the point that he must use a catheter to relieve himself.

Until 2001, crime victims could lay claim only to funds deemed "profits from a crime," such as earnings from a book or movie rights. But the state Legislature amended the law to allow victims to sue when convicts get substantial money from any source.

Ciafone was told about his attacker's sudden wealth by the state Crime Victims Board, according to court papers.