1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001



On July 8, 2024, a federal lawsuit was filed in White Plains, New York, on behalf of the family of Sean Harris against the Town of Clarkstown’s police officers, and other emergency responders, for actions alleged to have caused Sean's death on May 30, 2023.

(July 8, would have been Sean’s 21st birthday.)

The lawsuit alleges that Sean was playing video games in the home he shared with his mother in Nyack, New York, when two caseworkers from Access: Supports For Living, who were conducting a home visit, contacted police.

Despite Sean’s mother repeatedly assuring officers that her son was not violent, or a threat to himself or others, police surrounded the house and would not let his mother return inside to be with him.

According to the lawsuit, shortly after they arrived, officers fired a “beanbag” shotgun at Sean as he stood behind a glass storm door. After the glass shattered and Sean was hit in the abdomen, he retreated into the house and repeatedly refused the police requests for him to come outside. The lawsuit alleges that police remained outside the house for almost three hours before entering with police dogs and finding Sean unconscious in a first-floor bathroom. Two ambulances were on the scene, but it was more than 30 minutes before Sean was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Kevin Adams, Sean’s older brother who initiated the lawsuit, commented, “Would anyone feel safe trusting the police under the circumstances my brother faced? This lawsuit is a search for the truth to hold someone accountable for my brother’s death.”

The case was brought on behalf of Sean's family by Debra Cohen and Randolph McLaughlin, co-chairs of the Civil Rights Practice Group at the firm Newman Ferrara LLP.

According to Cohen, the New York State Attorney General’s Office took over the investigation of the incident almost immediately but has not released any findings.

# # #

A copy of the federal complaint is attached.

# # #

Our thanks to Myles Ganther for his assistance with this article.