MANHATTAN, NY — The family of a Bronx bodega worker accidentally shot and killed by police in 2012 has reached a settlement with the city that is awaiting approval from a surrogate judge, a family attorney told PIX 11 exclusively.
The settlement for an undisclosed amount was reached five years after the family filed a lawsuit against the city in 2013. Reynaldo Cuevas, then a father of a 2-year-old girl, was his daughter’s sole financial provider.
"It should've been resolved years ago because we had proof,” said Nicole Cuevas, 24, the victim’s younger sister. “The NYPD had tapes of how everything happened."
In September of 2012, police responded to a robbery at a bodega on Franklin Avenue in the Bronx. When the suspects saw police arrive on scene, they ran to the back of the store, surveillance video shows.
Cuevas and the store’s night manager took the opportunity to run out through the front door. First, the night manager comes out with his hands up, then Cuevas frantically runs out of the store, colliding with an officer. That's when police say the officer fired his weapon accidentally.
Earlier this year, the settlement was reached and heard before a judge in the Bronx Supreme Court. The settlement must still be approved by a Surrogate Judge because the funds will go to Cuevas’ daughter, who is now 7 years old.
"To the family it means they finally have some closure,” said family attorney Robinson Iglesias. “They don't have to go to court anymore. They can stop fighting the city. They can start grieving for their son the way they should've been able to do six years ago."
The family attorney is speaking out because he says cases like this, where police admitted their officers killed a man accidentally and where even then Police Commissioner Ray Kelly sent condolences to the family, shouldn’t drag on for years.
"They're afraid that officers, who have a very powerful union are going to think they're weak,” said Iglesias. “I would say the opposite would be true. When you find an issue and you find a solution. It makes things better for everyone."
According to court documents, Cuevas was shot by officer Ramysh Bangali, then a seven-year veteran of the force. Today he’s still a full-duty officer, patrolling the streets of the Bronx.
"I hope he find piece within himself since he never was able to apologize to my mother," said Cuevas. “Since he was man enough to pull a trigger on a twenty-year-old boy he should be man enough to look at my mother in the eyes and say he's sorry."
We reached out to the city’s law department who acknowledged they received our request for comment but have yet to hear back.