Suit filed against Clarkstown, police, responders on behalf of Nyack man who died after standoff

Harris's mom was said to have told police her son was not violent, but Clarkstown police said responding officers found Harris being combative, making threats and holding a bat.

Jade Nash

Jul 9, 2024, 12:14 AM

Updated 11 days ago

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The brother of a Nyack man who died after a lengthy standoff with Clarkstown police last year has filed a federal lawsuit.
News 12 has learned that Kevin Adams filed the federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of his younger brother, Sean Harris, who would have been 21 years old on Monday.
He filed the lawsuit against the town of Clarkstown, Clarkstown police officers and other emergency responders for actions the family alleges to have caused Harris's death in May 2023.
The lawsuit alleges that Harris was playing video games in a Nyack home he shared with his mom when two caseworkers on a home visit called the police.
Harris's mom was said to have told police her son was not violent, but Clarkstown police said responding officers found Harris being combative, making threats and holding a bat.
When police said Harris refused to put the bat down, they fired a beanbag shotgun at him.
A media advisory from Harris family attorneys said he was standing behind a glass storm door, and so after the door shattered and Harris was struck, he went into the house and refused the police's requests for him to come outside.
After the door was shattered and Harris was struck, a media advisory from Harris family attorneys said he went into the house and refused the police's requests for him to come outside.
The lawsuit alleges that police remained outside the house for almost three hours before entering with police dogs and finding Harris unconscious in a first-floor bathroom.
Although two ambulances were on scene, the advisory said it was more than 30 minutes before Harris was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Attorney Debra Cohen shared with News 12 what the family hopes to get out of this lawsuit and explained how its not just about the money.
"I think for them, the most important thing is the facts, the truth coming out," Cohen said. "This lawsuit is a search for the truth [and] what really happened to Sean Harris."
News 12 reached out to the Town of Clarkstown for a comment, but has not yet heard back.
Clarkstown police said it does not comment on pending litigation.


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