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Posted Thursday, December 29, 2011

 Funeral Procession For Haitian Man Shot by Police

by Brooklyn Eagle (edit@brooklyneagle.net)

Powerhouse Brooklyn Attorney Hired by Family

COURT STREET - On Saturday, powerhouse Brooklyn attorney Sanford Rubenstein will join the family of a man killed by upstate police in a march before the man's funeral.
haitian man killed
Herve Gilles   video An anti-police brutality, killing protest

Herve Gilles, 48, was allegedly unarmed when he was shot and killed by police in the early morning hours of Dec. 14 in Spring Valley, a village in upstate Rockland County.

Rubenstein, who has offices at 16 Court St. and is formerly a legislator in that county, is representing Gilles' half-brother and stepsister, although a complaint has not yet been filed. He will also speak at the funeral on Dec. 31.

"The question has to be raised, based on the facts that have been reported in the press, how a mentally ill man gets shot in the head and torso and killed by a police officer during an altercation, during which he allegedly bit the officer and had a stick," Rubenstein told the Eagle.

Gilles, who always carried the Bible in his pocket, allegedly encountered the officer after reports were called in of a deranged man throwing rocks at a downtown bar in Spring Valley.

The responding officer, reportedly a 20-year veteran, encountered Gilles, who friends say is mentally ill, in a parking lot near the village train station on Franklin Street, and a struggle ensued.

The office allegedly shot him twice, in the head and torso. Gilles was allegedly wielding the officer's baton, which he had seized during the struggle, at the time of the shooting, according to police.

Gilles was reputed as a friendly man except for when he got drunk or went off his medication.

Rubenstein has spoken with Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe about the case and the grand jury is set to hear the facts of the shooting in January 2012. Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica is also awaiting the results of the investigation.

"The family is cooperating with the Rockland County District Attorney's office, having met with Thomas Zugibe, the district attorney, who promised an open, fair and independent investigation," Rubenstein told the Eagle yesterday.

"We await the result of the grand jury's determination with regard to the issue of criminality." A previous march of almost 500 Haitians who want justice for Gilles took place earlier this month in Spring Valley. Friends and family of Gilles reached out to Rev. Al Sharpton, as well as hiring Rubenstein."
"We want to make sure that justice is done," Rubenstein previously told the LoHud.com news site." "If there was wrongdoing on the part of the officer, his family wants that prosecuted."

Tragically, Gilles' father, who reside in Haiti, also died this month, of natural causes, just eight days before Gilles' death.

The funeral for Gilles will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 31 at the French Baptist Church, 80 North Madison Ave., Spring Valley. A viewing will be held at 8 a.m., and burial will follow at Brick Church Cemetery in New Hempstead.
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