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The trainer who was allegedly shot by off-duty NYPD Sergeant Justin Ellis has sued him and the NYPD claiming the cop had a history of misconduct, new court papers show.
The 35-year-old cop from the 101st precinct in Queens allegedly shot trainer Patrick Catania in the chest on Oct. 25, 2019 after catching him in a late-night tryst with his wife at the couple’s Seaford home in Nassau County.
Catania’s Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit from Friday alleges that the NYPD knew that Ellis had an “excessive” number of civilian complaints and prior lawsuits against him for alleged assault and misuse of deadly excessive force. Still, they “failed and refused to discipline him,” and even promoted him to sergeant in 2018, the court papers allege.
Ellis has been hit with at least two excessive force lawsuits and he has faced “24 allegations of misconduct and 8 civilian complaints” of which five were substantiated, the court filing alleges.
Still, Ellis “has received discipline on only two occasions” and was never suspended prior to the incident with Catania, the court papers claim.
And this is part of a larger two-decades long pattern where the NYPD has “permitted, condoned and encouraged” police officers with “known propensities to commit violence and/or violate” department rules and regulations — which only allow for the use of deadly force in the face of imminent death or serious physical injury, the court documents claim.
As a result of the shooting, Catania had to have emergency surgery, was hospitalized for a week and then had to undergo months of physical therapy, the court papers say.
Catania has brought claims of negligent hiring, training and supervision against the city and the NYPD. Catania and his parents are suing the city, the NYPD and Ellis for unspecified damages.
Both Ellis and Catania, 30, were criminally charged with assault and attempted assault respectively over the incident. Catania was accused of trying to attack Ellis with a bat.
Ellis has since been suspended without pay.
Catania’s criminal defense attorney Scott Gross told The Post, “This is a clear cut case of excessive use of force. My client maintains his innocence because he is, in fact innocent.”
Catania’s civil attorney declined to comment.
A spokesman with the city Law Department told The Post, “We’ll review the lawsuit.”
Ellis’ criminal defense attorney and the NYPD separately declined to comment.
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy
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