Klein Secures Federal Trial on Civil Rights Claim Against Police Officer Who Tased Unarmed Man

The matter of Craig Costello involves a federal civil rights claim arising from the use of a taser gun against an unarmed man in his brother’s driveway.

Investigated on suspicion of a misdemeanor and non-criminal violations, Craig Costello pulled his car into his brother’s driveway, came to a complete stop, and then exited his vehicle to inquire who the officer was.  The responding officer, from the Suffolk County Police Department, exited his vehicle and marched aggressively toward Craig while pointing his loaded gun.  When he reached Craig, the officer then executed a kick to Craig’s chest with his gun remaining drawn. Finally, thinking better of shooting Craig with his firearm, the officer grabbed his taser gun and, upon being asked for his name, fired a bolt of electricity into Craig’s body—causing him to fall face-first onto the driveway pavement as he screamed through convulsions in agony.

On August 21, 2023, the Suffolk County Attorney’s office filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the officer’s force was reasonable under the circumstances or that he was otherwise entitled to dismissal on account of “qualified immunity.” On November 27, 2023, Alexander Klein opposed the motion—highlighting that the degree of force was unreasonable across a wide spectrum of considerations, including the severity of the alleged offenses under investigation, the lack of immediate threat that Craig posed as he stood unarmed and stopped in his brother’s driveway, and Craig’s lack of resistance immediately before being shot with the taser. 

On June 26, 2024, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York agreed with Klein and denied the County’s motion on all counts. The matter is now scheduled for trial on October 21, 2024.