New York Post
September 22, 2004

CITY $LAPPED FOR DRUGGIE DEATH

By DAREH GREGORIAN

A Manhattan judge has ruled that the city has to pay $170,600 to the family of a slain drug dealer whose infamous shooting by police touched off riots in Washington Heights.

The ruling by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich upheld a 2003 jury verdict awarding Jos "Kiko" Garcia's mother, Regina, money for her son's "false arrest."

PBA head Patrick Lynch fumed, "It's disgraceful to award money to the family of a known drug dealer when a police officer is found to be working completely within the guidelines of the department and at serious risk to his own life."

The shooting happened on July 3, 1992, when plainclothes cops spotted Garcia in front of a known drug location on a hot day wearing a jacket with a suspicious bulge in it. Officer Michael O'Keefe ID'd himself as a cop and confronted Garcia, who elbowed him in the throat and tried to run, Kornreich's decision says.

The two men fought and wrestled their way into the lobby of a building on West 162nd Street, where Garcia pulled out a gun. O'Keefe then pulled his, and shot Garcia twice.

The shooting led to days of riots. And, in a move that infuriated the NYPD, then-Mayor David Dinkins consoled Garcia's family, and the city paid for the dealer's funeral.

Garcia's mom filed suit against O'Keefe, the NYPD and the city in 1993, charging false arrest and civil rights violations.

A jury awarded Regina Garcia $155,000 for the false arrest and $15,000 in punitive damages, but threw out the rest of the claims.