A police confrontation this weekend turned violent, according to a video posted to social media that showed NYPD officers punching a group of mostly Black teenagers in a subway station in Brooklyn early Saturday morning. The video seemed to offer yet the latest proof of NYPD police brutality against unarmed Black and brown people in New York City.
The New York Post reported that five people were arrested. But that number apparently did not account for any of the officers involved, including the one in particular who was seen on the video taking a running start in order to land his punch square on the face of an unsuspecting teenager. A resulting scrum of police and teens could be seen on the subway platform at the Jay St.-Metrotech station near Borough Hall in downtown Brooklyn.
While it was unclear what led up to the confrontation, chances are that the NYPD has been trained in efforts to de-escalate situations like these. However, the video made it appear that the cops resorted to physical violence first.
The person recording the video can be heard repeatedly telling the police that he doesn’t have to stop filming. Many other people on the platform could be seen pulling out their phones in order to record to the police violence. The video also shows some of the teens fighting back, perhaps defending themselves against what appears to be overzealous and angry officers.
The nearly four-minute-long video was posted on Facebook. It is violent and should be viewed with discretion.
One of the people arrested, a 15-year-old boy, was “charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct,” according to the Post. “Also arrested were a 16-year-old girl who was hit with a reckless endangerment charge, and three 18-year-olds who were charged with resisting arrest,” the Post wrote.
As of Sunday morning, it was unclear whether any of the officers involved were being investigated for their roles in the early morning violence. It was also unclear whether any of the bodycams worn by the officers involved were activated during the brawl.
The video was posted at around the same time another video was going viral showing NYPD violence in the New York City subway system.
A crackdown on fare evasion has deployed at least 500 police officers to subway stations across the city, something advocates have said harkens back to New York’s maligned so-called Broken Windows policing that encouraged the unconstitutional practice of Stop and Frisk and helped foster the mass criminalization of nonviolent Black and brown bodies.
Saturday morning’s violent episode did not end in anyone’s death, but past chance encounters between unarmed Black people and the NYPD have been fatal. That includes the killing of Eric Garner, whose death, like the episode in Brooklyn Saturday morning, was also documented on video and showed the world how the NYPD apparently prefers to police Black lives in New York City.