The family of Christina Yuna Lee, the 35-year-old woman cops say was stabbed more than 40 times by a homeless man and left for dead in her Manhattan apartment in 2022, has sued the New York Police Department for their response to the grisly murder.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, accuses two NYPD officers of standing idle outside Lee’s apartment while she screamed and was repeatedly stabbed behind a locked door—an inaction they allege is why Lee ultimately lost her life.
“Despite having reason to believe Ms. Lee’s life was in imminent danger,” the lawsuit says, “(the officers) failed to gain entry to Ms. Lee’s apartment or otherwise provide her with any potentially life-saving police or medical assistance.”
The suit alleges the inaction was particularly egregious because of officers’ proximity to Lee’s apartment, situated in a Chinatown neighborhood adjacent to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
The NYPD’s 5th precinct is just blocks from there, yet the suit says it took police an hour and 20 minutes to force entry into Lee’s apartment—where her mangled body was recovered in a bathtub, and her accused killer, Assamad Nash, was found hiding under a bed.
The suit details Lee’s final moments alive, saying she hopped out of a taxi near her apartment building around 4:20 a.m. and headed to her unit. That’s when Nash allegedly forced his way into the apartment with her and a struggle ensued.
Lee screamed for help and neighbors called 911, the suit says. Two officers arrived quickly, but they didn’t try to bust through the locked door that blocked them from Lee and Nash.
Prosecutors said last year that cops reported hearing Lee’s screams until they abruptly stopped, the New York Times reported. At that point, the cops, who weren’t named in the suit, even spoke to Nash through the door, but didn’t break into the apartment.
The Times reported that cops reported hearing a woman’s voice tell the officers, “‘We don’t need the police here—go away.’” That voice turned out to be Nash.
Lee’s estate is asking for compensatory damages for their loved one’s death, placing partial blame on the NYPD—not just for their response on Feb. 13, but also for not maintaining law-and-order in and around Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The suit mentions the 2021 stabbing death of Sala Miah, a delivery worker, who was also killed near the park at random.
“By failing to control dangerous conditions in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, (the NYPD) intentionally, recklessly, and negligently created a nuisance,” the suit said.
Reached by email, the NYPD said it wouldn’t comment on pending litigation. The department ignored questions about what disciplinary action—if any—the first officers who responded to Lee’s apartment faced.
Nash, 25, was arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court in March 2022 on charges of murder, burglary and sexually motivated burglary. He entered a plea of not guilty—after initially refusing to come to court that morning—and he’s still awaiting trial.
Lee was a creative producer for Splice, a music platform based in New York City. Loved ones memorialized Lee in countless posts online and in a GoFundMe, which raised $429,000 after Lee died in a “senseless act of violence.”
“Christina was full of life,” the fundraiser said. “She radiated positivity, joy, and love. She supported her friends in everything that they did. Her loss is an unfathomable tragedy that her loved ones and her community will struggle with for years to come.”