Monday, October 27, 2008
Michael Mineo, the 24-year-old man who has accused the police of brutality, spends much of his time at the Brooklyn tattoo parlor where he works as a body piercer, friends say, and calls his friends from there his brothers and sisters.
He has applied for a city license to apply tattoos, though officials said he has yet to complete the licensing process, and friends say he favors industrial work clothes like Dickies and the music of the rapper Lil Wayne.
In recent years, he has had frequent run-ins with the police and has been arrested at least five times since 2003, according to court records. Two of those arrests involved marijuana possession. In April, he was accused of beating someone with a wooden stool during a fight at the tattoo parlor, Jiggaman Tattoos. That case is still pending.
“He has no family, only friends he calls his family,” said Jilma Brown, 20, who is his roommate in a three-bedroom apartment on Rogers Avenue in Brooklyn. “When you look at him, you’re going to think he’s a bad guy, but he just wants love.”
In a city where allegations of police brutality almost always leave murky, contested trails, investigators seeking to bridge the yawning gulf between the two accounts of what happened to Mr. Mineo will spend at least some time evaluating the credibility of the people who tell them.
Mr. Mineo says that at midday on Oct. 15, for no apparent reason, five police officers chased him into a busy subway station, where they knocked him to the ground and punched and kicked him before one of them sodomized him with the antenna of a walkie-talkie, or a similar instrument. He spent five days in a hospital recovering from his injuries. [Mark Godsey]