When Rosevony Duroseau turned 47 last year, her brother and sister-in-law hosted a small surprise party to celebrate.
Dr. Yves Duroseau, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital, and his designer wife, Claude, had about 15 guests over on Sept. 17, 2022—a Saturday evening—for a nine-course dinner in the back garden of their gracious Forest Hills home. The occasion was especially joyous for Rosevony, who had recently gotten engaged.
Yves, who in 2020 was the first physician in the U.S. to receive the COVID vaccine, and Rosevony, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officer based out of Washington, D.C., are Haitian-American, and all but one of the guests at the gathering were Black or Latino. Among them were friends of Rosevony’s from Fordham Law School, where she earned her J.D., along with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration, two bank executives, a New Jersey public schools administrator, at least one public defender, high-powered music industry player Rigo Morales, who co-founded the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective, and Rosevony’s fiancé, the co-founder and CEO of a cybersecurity risk management consultancy. The meal was catered by chef Vanessa Cantave, 2011 winner of Bravo cooking competition show, Rocco’s Dinner Party.
But as things started to draw to a close, an unidentified white woman showed up with a “large, menacing German Shepherd,” and “demanded that the music playing in the backyard be turned down,” according to an astonishing civil lawsuit obtained by The Daily Beast.
When the “effort to silence Plaintiffs and end their celebration” apparently didn’t happen fast enough, the party “abruptly and forcefully ended” when a white neighbor grabbed his backyard hose and started hosing the guests to get them to disperse—“creating a scene reminiscent of 1960’s Birmingham, Alabama, when White law enforcement officers used fire hoses to douse, assault and batter African Americans participating in civil rights demonstrations in an attempt to get them to comply and disperse,” the complaint states.
The neighbor, a married father of two identified in court filings as 48-year-old Marcus Rosebrock, allegedly turned his hose on the guests again and again, continually increasing the water pressure, until they were not only drenched but also thoroughly humiliated.
Mina Q. Malik, who along with co-counsel Derek Sells is representing the Duroseaus and the others who were at the dinner party, told The Daily Beast that she happened to be in Alabama when the case came into her office.
“I was appalled and disgusted that water hosing and German Shepherds were being used against people of color in New York City in 2022,” said Malik, a candidate in 2019 for Queens District Attorney. “I was in utter disbelief.”
Everyone who attended the party remains “deeply scarred” from the experience, according to Malik, who said the hosts, guests, and caterers “feel degraded and humiliated, and they were made to feel less than human.”
The Duroseaus’ suit claims, among other things, that Rosebrock violated their civil rights under Title 8 of the New York City Administrative Code, alleging he interfered with with their “right... to enjoy the ownership of real property within the City of New York, County of Queens.” The couple have not held a backyard event since the incident, and have essentially become, in Malik’s words, “prisoners in their own home.”
Yves and Claude Duroseau, along with all 15 guests, the caterer, and her sous chef, are now demanding Rosebrock fork over undetermined monetary damages for the mental anguish and emotional distress they say he and the dog lady, who is identified in the complaint as “Jane Doe,” caused them.
“Unable to use their property for a peaceful gathering, and humiliated, put into fear, embarrassed and degraded, Plaintiffs seek justice for the assaultive conduct, battery and civil rights violations,” the complaint states.
Rosebrock, a German national, has not yet filed a response to the Duroseaus’ complaint, and his version of events remains absent from the narrative. On Sunday, his attorney, Brandon Gillard, told The Daily Beast that his client’s story will eventually come out in court.
“Mr. Rosebrock denies any of the allegations in the complaint, and rejects any characterization that he is racist, or [that] his actions were racially motivated,” Gillard said.
The surreal turn of events at the Duroseau household began around 9:50 p.m., when dinner ended and the catering crew began to clean up. It was during this period that Jane Doe and her dog appeared in the foyer of the Duroseaus’ home, according to the complaint.
Cantave and her assistant, Shani Porter, were the first to interact with Doe, and the complaint says the pair were immediately afraid of the “aggressive” German Shepherd. Yves Duroseau went inside to see what was going on, and after Doe again insisted the music be lowered, he politely informed her they were celebrating a birthday, that it would be over soon, and asked her to leave his property, the complaint says.
Once Yves rejoined his guests out back, Rosebrock emerged from his $1.9 million residence, which abuts the Duroseau home, and turned the hose on them, the complaint states. The water pressure “was extremely powerful and stinging in nature,” the suit says, adding that Yves escaped with two others to his son’s treehouse, where they attempted to reason with Rosebrock over the fenceline.
But rather than backing off, Rosebrock “doubled down,” according to the complaint. It says he “looked directly at [the three men], turned his water hose on them with increased water pressure, and violently water sprayed them in the face and body, drenching them, and putting them in fear of serious bodily harm as they were afraid that they would be knocked to the ground from out of the tree house.”
Rosebrock then trained his hose back on the rest of the group, and soaked them again, the complaint goes on. One guest tried in vain to “speak calmly” with Rosebrock to see if she could convince him to stop, but he instead “turned his water hose on [her] at high intensity and viciously hosed her with water from head to toe,” the complaint states.
Despite having wrecked the party, Rosebrock still wasn’t done, concluding the shocking episode by hosing down the caterer’s assistant as she cleared the dinner plates, according to the complaint.
The Duroseaus called 911 to report the incident, and two NYPD officers showed up to take a report, Sells, the chair of The Cochran Firm, told The Daily Beast.
“There has been no follow-up since then, even though this incident should be investigated and treated as a hate crime,” he said.
Rosebrock is still living next door, but the Duroseaus “have had no meaningful interactions with him since the incident,” according to Sells.
“We don’t like to generalize or condemn the state of our society based upon the horrific acts of two individuals,” Sells said. “All we want is to deliver justice to our clients who are innocent victims of nasty people.”