A Brooklyn man whose family says he was caused to have a fatal heart attack by police who were searching for a robbery suspect was laid to rest Saturday. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.
Screams echoed through the Gospel Crusade church as the body of Carlos Alcis was rolled in. His wife and eight children were unable to control their grief.
The 43-year-old Haitian native died on August 15 after police raided his Rockaway Boulevard apartment building looking for a suspect wanted in a cellphone robbery.
Police say Alcis opened his door and officers questioned his son, who was cleared. That is when Alcis' family says he collapsed in front of police.
"He was shaking a little bit, and after that, they didn't do anything, 'cause they just told my family, 'He's going to be OK. Just leave him for a while," said Roudy Alcis, the victim's brother.
Police have a different story. They say they immediately called an ambulance and started CPR. The family disagrees.
"After that a bunch of blood came out from his mouth. That is when they whipped out an undershirt that he had, wiped the blood and asked my little nephew to perform CPR," Roudy Alcis said.
While prosecutors would not confirm it, the family's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, says the Brooklyn District Attorney's office is investigating the incident. The medical examiner's office is still investigating the official cause of death, but Alcis' family says he passed away from a heart attack. Rubenstein says the ambulance was also dispatched to the wrong location.
Now, the family is left to pick up the pieces.
"It shouldn't happen," said Josephine Blanchard, a friend of the victim. "To me, the way it was happening, it shouldn't happen."
"Clearly, the NYPD should not be be raiding a house in the middle of the night over a stolen cellphone, waking people up with flashlights, scaring, literally, Carlos Alcis to death," Rubenstein said.
"This shouldn't happen. Never. To nobody. To no one," Roudy Alcis said. "We are all human beings."
On top of everything else, family members say they had to raise more than $20,000 for funeral and burial costs.
Alcis in will be buried in Jacmel, Haiti next Saturday.