New York, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning today announced the conviction of a former Harlem Hospital employee who admitted she punched a patient receiving mental health services in her care.

Nakeyia Law Brown (DOB: 12/01/1977) of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, appeared before the Honorable Thomas Farber on October 18, 2016 in New York County Supreme Court and pled guilty to Assault in the 3rd degree, a class “A” misdemeanor. The defendant received a sentence of a conditional discharge, agreed to perform 20 hours of community service and signed a full order of protection. The defendant also waived her right to appeal any Justice Center administrative findings that may prohibit her from providing care to vulnerable New Yorkers.

 “Due to the vigilance of a mandated reporter who quickly reported this incident to the Justice Center, we were able investigate this allegation and ultimately hold this hospital employee accountable for her attack on a defenseless victim,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning.

 The charges in this case stem from an incident that occurred in September 2015 in which Brown punched the victim in the face while the victim’s hands and feet were bound in restraints. The victim, who was a patient on the psychiatric unit, required medical treatment for bruising and swelling to the face. Harlem Hospital’s Psychiatric Unit is licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH).

Justice Center Assistant Special Prosecutor Edwin Ferguson prosecuted the case.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center began operations on June 30, 2013.  It operates a toll-free hotline that receives reports of allegations of abuse, neglect and significant incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Anyone who witnesses or suspects the abuse or neglect of a person with special needs can make a report. Mandated reporters who have reasonable cause to suspect that a reportable incident has occurred by staff must report it to the Justice Center immediately upon discovery.  The Justice Center is not a first responder so if a report involves an emergency situation, the caller is instructed to hang up and dial 9-1-1.

The Justice Center is authorized to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect, pursue administrative sanctions against staff found responsible for misconduct and its Special Prosecutor/Inspector General shares jurisdiction with local district attorneys to prosecute criminal offense allegations. The Justice Center notifies local district attorneys of all potential criminal cases.

Justice Center Individual and Family Support advocates provide guidance and information to victims, their families, personal representatives and guardians about the reporting and investigation process, offer support during criminal court proceedings and are available to accompany victims during interviews and court appearances.