Rasheen Rose died while being restrained at Fineson Developmental Center, a state institution in Queens, on August 6, 2012—a death that was ruled a homicide by the New York medical examiner, and into which the district attorney's investigation is still open. Shaneice Luke, Rose's sister, filed a lawsuit accusing the staff of killing her brother, who "became unresponsive" after at least three staff members allegedly threw him to the ground and put him in a "prone position" for as long as 30 minutes; one 275-pound worker sat on him, while others, including doctors and nurses, stood by, the New York Daily News reports. Rose, who had severe autism and could not communicate verbally, "was basically crushed to death," says Luke's lawyer. But now, New York officials are billing Luke for $11.67 million, the AP reports.
The claim against Rose's estate cites his total Medicaid assistance over a period of 10 years, up until the day he died at age 33. Medicaid doesn't typically demand reimbursement, but an attorney who has worked with others who've received similar bills after suing the state says officials have recently begun this "problematic" practice. A spokesperson for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, which runs Fineson, says officials are simply following federal Medicaid obligations so that they don't lose their Medicaid funding, but an assemblyman who advocates for people with disabilities calls it "retaliation." Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to close Fineson in 2017. (Read more Rasheen Rose stories.)