Who is Rinaldo Laviolette? Man shot in eye and left disfigured by off-duty NYPD cop sues for $35M

A Long Island man who was mistakenly walking to his house when an off-duty NYPD officer shot him in the eye is suing the city, the NYPD, and the officer for $35 million in damages for his “disfiguring” wounds. According to Rinaldo Laviolette’s counsel, the 27-year-old has undergone two operations and currently has a titanium plate in his head. The man has scars from the West Babylon incident on March 5.

Rinaldo Laviolette

Rinaldo Laviolette

According to reports, Laviolette was attempting to open the door of Detective Douglas DeOtto’s West Babylon residence because he believed it to be a friend’s home where they had been partying. According to a friend of the man, Laviolette was with the man’s sister for a 30th birthday celebration in a nearby town. Around three in the morning, a drunk Laviolette left after accidentally taking another guest’s wallet and phone instead of his own. Laviolette was attempting to return the items when he mistaken the cop’s home for his friend’s home, according to his pal, who spoke with the New York Post.

The friend remarked, “When he goes to go back, the houses kind of start to look the same to him.” He claimed that when Laviolette attempted to open the police officer’s door, he discovered it to be locked and pounded on it. “And it turns out that an off-duty police officer who answers the door sees this young individual who appears lost and what he believes to be someone trying to break into the house. My understanding is that this resulted in an argument,” the friend continued.

Laviolette was shot in the eye during a fight between the two. Following the incident, Laviolette’s father stated: “He accidentally went to the incorrect home. The house resembled one another at night, and the friend lived three houses down.” Suffolk police were looking into the occurrence, and it was determined that there was no criminal history. His head was “shattered,” his eye was lost, he had brain damage, his mind was irrevocably scarred, according to court documents, according to the New York Post.

The detective “knew or should have known that there was no justifiable basis for the use of such force,” according to the lawsuit. Attorney Daniel Solinsky stated that the gunshot “essentially destroyed and mutilated the entire side of his face.” Laviolette hasn’t been able to work since the incident, he continued. The young man will have to pay “astronomical” medical fees, the attorney said without giving an exact figure.

In the small hours of the morning, when this individual appears at his door, how in the world did Detective DeOtto figure that out? James Moschella, a Detectives Endowment Association lawyer representing DeOtto in the investigation by law enforcement into the incident, claimed. He is not, however, representing DeOtto in the complaint. DeOtto was awakened by someone “not only beating on his door but doing everything he can to break into the house,” according to Moschella.” Laviolette had been pounding on the door, he continued, “for several minutes, at least five minutes. When that didn’t work, he started trying to get into the door gripping the handle, exerting force.”

With a wife and two young children upstairs, DeOtto “was more than justified in thinking that this man was not going to stop until he was inside his house, and could only presume the worst at that point,” Moschella said. He continued, “This man has only himself to blame for his acts that night. DeOtto, a police officer at the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, Queens, has not been charged in connection with the incident, according to Suffolk County police. Laviolette is requesting $10 million in punitive damages in addition to $25 million in compensatory damages.

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