NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is calling for an NYPD officer to be taken off the street after cellphone video shows the officer punching at least two teenagers.
The district attorney’s office is investigating whether the officer followed protocol or crossed the line.
For its part, the NYPD said there’s more to the incident than what is seen on the video, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
Some are wondering what led up to the moment on the clip that appears to show an officer punching a teenager and then seconds later taking a swing at another.
“To me, he went beyond the call of duty,” Adams said of the officer. “You’re not in a boxing match. That is not the goal and what I saw in that video is clearly outside of any training that I ever received in the police department.
“He took a chaotic situation that police had under control and he almost turned it into a riot situation based on his actions,” Adams added.
Web Extra: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Teens On Subway Confrontation With Police:
Adams, a retired NYPD captain, said one officer appears to have escalated the matter and wants him to be placed on modified assignment pending further investigation. The NYPD said it is conducting a review and that the video, which picks up mid-fight, doesn’t tell the whole story.
Individuals began to interfere with police action and the situation escalated. Publicly available video does not show the entirety of the incident, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported
According to police, officers responded to a fight between two large groups of people on Friday afternoon that had spilled into the Jay Street-Metro Tech subway station. Several teens allegedly continued to fight and resist arrest, with one even punching an officer.
Five people were arrested — all 18 years old and younger — with charges ranging from resisting arrest to assault on a police officer.
Kevin Harrington, a retired chief in the NYPD Detective Bureau, told Sanchez the public should not rush to judge the officer.
“I think the de-escalation tactics aren’t always appropriate in a situation like that,” Harrington said. “I think you have to neutralize the physical threat with the necessary minimal physical force to overcome the actor and I think they did a nice job to some degree.”
Friends of some of the teens arrested came to their defense.
“I have been friends with one of the boys affected by this incident for a while. I can speak for everyone when I say it’s not in his nature to be violent. Seeing him get assaulted and jumped by police officers made me feel sick,” one person said.
Straphangers had mixed opinions on the officer’s actions.
“You notice one of the men they’re punches the police officer. What is he supposed to do, just take the punch?” one area resident said.
“You’re a police officer. You shouldn’t have hit a teen, even thought the teen might have struck him,” said Lisa Waite of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of the borough.
“To me, it seems like this guy wasn’t gonna stop hitting anybody, so of course the cop who’s getting punched had to punch back,” a Crown Heights resident added.
Several commuters who were shown the video raised concerns about the relationship between the community and police.
“The officer is defending himself. There is no respect for the police anymore,” said Richard Givaino of Williamsburg.
“I do think both sides need to be looked at. How can the officers do their job effectively and make sure the community they’re protecting feels safe?” added Shanelle Gabriel of Canarsie.
“Do an investigation, see where it goes and see what happens for the necessary parties to have necessary things in order,” Pastor Meredith Jordan of Bed-Stuy said.
Adams said he’ll be holding a “know your rights” workshop for teens at Borough Hall at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The premise of the class is to teach kids what to do when interacting with police.
A unit from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the incident.