Another Unprovoked Beating by Police Caught on Video

Here’s surveillance footage of two NYPD officers brutally beating a black man who was allegedly suspected of stealing a $3 piece of pizza. The video shows the man holding his hands up when one of the officers just charges in and punches him and then they beat him with fists and a baton.

This isn’t even remotely surprising anymore. It goes on literally every day, all over the country. But no, we don’t have a problem with police brutality or anything.

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  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    As long as the man doesn’t warn his son about how he should interact with the police. Then it’s a grave insult to the brave and heroic NYPD.

  • busterggi

    Another hour in America.

  • flex

    I have my doubts about it getting worse, but it is getting better documented.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Now do you see what happens when you Liberals force the police to “moderate” their so-called “violence”? Sure, it’s just a piece now, but next time it could be one big slice folded over on itself or even an entire calzone! So-called “punching” the perp was the only weapon the cop had left to defend himself!

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    That pizza was threatening.

  • Die Anyway

    I see 6 cops in the video (at least 3 appear to be black, one maybe hispanic). Stealing a slice of pizza appears to be a major crime if the police force needs to dedicate such a large contingent to this man’s apprehension.

  • lldayo

    I have a feeling this guy will be able to afford all the pizza he wants in the near future.

  • lorn

    Some things seem obvious to me that others might not notice. First, the guy arrested is rather large, if he puts up a fight there will be serious injury, well beyond a simple cut. The suspect is clearly talking to someone behind the counter. From his posture it can be concluded that he is feeling relaxed and in control. Given that he is accused of stealing, and most likely it was the clerk who called the police, it looks like the guy might be shaking down the store for pizza, and he was very proud about it. That would make it strong arm robbery. A very much more serious issue than walking out with a $3 slice of pizza. Had he done that the confrontation would be outside the store.

    Second, notice that there are five policemen shown. Certainly the man’s size played into the perceived need for numbers. The first cop is holding a collapsible baton and keeping the man at arm’s reach. Those are all text book for how to handle a guy who has size and reach on you, particularly if the person is known to have previously fought police.

    Six cops on hand tells me that this is likely not about a singular event of pizza theft. It takes time to get that number of police to any location. The video shows just a small part of the situation. This guy might have a history that leads them to expect resistance.

    Once the police tell him to turn around and put his hands behind his back the same position, hands raised, combined with further words (hard to tell but it looks like he told them he wasn’t going), becomes resisting arrest.

    Yes, you could, based on the video, spin a tale of a petty thief stealing pizza and police overreaction. It is also easy to spin a story of a chronic bully who habitually intimidates storekeepers to take what he wants and getting off on the terror. He is confronted by police, claims innocence, and then, once it is clear he is going to be arrested, telling them to fuck off. The police, operating on prior knowledge of the man’s habits, have gathered in anticipation of this event. They take control of the situation before he can attack to prevent a potentially destructive and maiming fight.

    It would be interesting to interview the store clerk. A lot depends on the situation. He might not want to let it be known he is regularly intimidated. A lot of store clerks in rough neighborhoods are caught in a bind. If they call police they get hassled and robbed more, not less. The people they call police on always get out of jail and bullies tend to resent it when their victims bring in outsiders.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    @lorn

    blah blah blah blah

    Walking up and beating up an unarmed man who isn’t being physically confrontational is still wrong. He could have been calling them all names and saying he’s going to set their dogs on fire, and their behavior would still be wrong. He could have a quarter of a million in stolen diamonds in his pockets and have killed a cop last week, and their behavior would still be wrong.

  • bushrat

    @8 I smell a lot of ‘if’ and ‘maybe’ coming off of you ‘assessment’ of the situation. Firstly, if you want to go with the large man vs the small cop analogy, any police officer worth a damn would not enter the situation by shoving the suspect with an extended baton in their hand. They are supposed to try to diffuse the situation BEFORE it escalates, not escalate it themselves. He should have first identified himself and asked the suspect to step off to the side to talk.

    Secondly, even if (and that’s a huge if) the guy was telling the cop he didn’t want to turn around, the second officer had no reason to burst into the situation without a single word and punch the guy with his hands up in a universal gesture of surrender. the man had made no threatening move and appeared more startled than anything. I don’t know what he said to the police, and neither do you, but you go ahead with assumptions that even though the first cop had only talked to him for seconds before the 2nd cop hit him, he must have been resisting.

    Finally, if a man talking calmly and confidently is threatening to you, I might want to interact with more people. Most people are relaxed and confident when their talking to other people, be it the checkout clerk, bar patrons, friends etc.

  • mkoormtbaalt

    @lorn – It doesn’t look like he’s in the pizza place.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Some things seem obvious to me that others might not notice. First, lorn is a dunderhead. He may or not be racist, but he has no problem explaining away a cop punching in the head an alleged perp who has his hands up.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, it wouldn’t be called the “surrender position” if it wasn’t so dangerous. The only position more dangerous is the “hands cuffed behind back” position, because the police can’t tell how many fingers you’re holding up.*

     

    * For the record, it was three.

  • laurentweppe

    I see 6 cops in the video (at least 3 appear to be black, one maybe hispanic). Stealing a slice of pizza appears to be a major crime if the police force needs to dedicate such a large contingent to this man’s apprehension.

    Pizzas are sacred, Pizzas are holy, Pizzas are like giant manna covered in tasty toppings. To disturb another man for enjoying his Pizza is akin to burning a church, flaying alive its congregants, putting the video of their agony on youtube, and selling their children as sex slaves to child molesters. So of course you need at least half a dozen cops to apprehend such a dangerous, loathsome criminal.

    Mark my words: the day one can steal a Pizza with impunity will be the day civilization loses all its wroth, the day Humanity will deserve to go extinct.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Pizzas are strange when you’re a stranger / Slices look ugly when you’re alone…

  • LightningRose

    Perhaps the Repuglicans are right.

    Maybe the NYPD would act more civilly if they knew there was a “good guy with a gun” in the crowd who was prepared to use it against violent behavior.

  • Leo T.

    @16: More likely we’d end up with the GOP demanding nationwide gun control legislation.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @8 Lorn

    Even in your asspull scenario, the behavior of the police is unjustifiable. “Refusing to put your hands behind your back”, therefore “the police are justified in needlessly beating you”, makes no sense whatsoever. Several of those blows made absolutely no sense at all whatsoever.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    A couple of stories I read when this hit the news described the following scenario: the guy who was beaten in the video had been at a different location, about three blocks away, buying pizza. He was short a dollar and told the counter person that he would ask a friend outside the store for a dollar. He left and conferred with the friend who reentered the store with him. The friend pulled a switchblade on the cashier and announced that they weren’t going to pay anything. No doubt, it was a pretty damned scary moment for the cashier. Both men then fled the store with the food, but without harming the cashier.

    Police were called, they swarmed the area immediately and somehow believed that they identified one of the pizza thieves entering a service station mini-mart three blocks from the pizza place. Several cops quickly converged, and the hands up beatdown captured on video follows.

    A few observations: The police probably got a call about an armed robbery, with a knife, and they swarm like mad men. In the mid-90s, I walked in on such a robbery in Chicago at a 7/11 around midnight. I was shocked that within two minutes of calling 911, the 7/11 was swarming with cops. There was pandemonium. I think they don’t know who or what they’re really dealing with. It’s a call of an armed robbery, maybe they know its a knife, maybe not. It was so fast. Other cops converging on the area, caught the guy about half mile away, in the direction I said he had driven off. Knowing Chicago cops, it was probably not a gentle arrest. Point of the story is that I was struck by the sense of frantic urgency and fog of war among cops when they get a call like this.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cops thinking the guy had the knife, converge and attack, only to ask questions later.

    This does no excuse the cop. It still looks like atrocious abuse. How about shouting “hands up” or “down on the ground” or whatever, and cuff him. They seem pretty good at doing that kind of thing in rather brutal, furious fashion, without the need to punch the guy out before they a) sense resistance b) meet resistance c) determine that they’re actually dealing with the robber and that he has a knife. At three blocks away from the pizza place, this could have been a different guy with similar build or similar color shirt and skin, but innocent of any crime. Hell, sometimes the descriptions don’t remotely match the person they take down.

    For now, the police maintain that the victim of their attack is the guy they were after, and I suppose they charged him with armed robbery (since he was in effect an accomplice to an armed robbery of a pizza slice), but thanks to their attack on a guy who wasn’t resisting, NYC will have to make a huge payout for the beating. And as sometimes happens, the prosecutor may even drop the charges, even if they arrested the right guy. Since the cop isn’t Italian American in Staten Island with a Staten Island jury, he may find himself in trouble if prosecutors bring charges against him and try him in Brooklyn (Not positive, but I think that’s where it happened), but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    One other thing. That cop that beat the suspect looked like this arresting style comes quite naturally to him, perhaps his customary method of subduing a suspect. Maybe it just hasn’t been caught on camera before or made it to social media in the past, but it looked like this is go-to in this kind of situation.

  • Ichthyic

    First, the guy arrested is rather large, if he puts up a fight there will be serious injury

    yup, nothing tells someone they shouldn’t put up a fight like punching them in the face repeatedly.

    logic is NOT your friend.

  • howardhershey

    Most people get arrested (and beaten) for the crime of “contempt of cop”.

  • howardhershey

    “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” “Hands behind your back. Don’t beat.” Wish the cops would make up their minds.

  • Ichthyic

    @16: More likely we’d end up with the GOP demanding nationwide gun control legislation.

    Well, keeping guns out of people of the wrong color certainly was the motivation for California’s first official gun control law, passed by Ronnie Reagan when he was governor, and entirely motivated out of irrational fear.

    so… yeah, you’re right.

  • Ichthyic

    “out of the hands of” I mean…

  • Ichthyic

    That cop that beat the suspect looked like this arresting style comes quite naturally to him

    he certainly showed absolutely no hesitation in tossing a roundhouse into the guys face while his partner kept him at arms length.

    and speaking of his partner…

    what was the idea of grinding the butt of your baton into the guy’s spine and kidneys AFTER you had him bent over the counter?

    no… I think poor training and poor pay have made a lot of cops really really bad at their jobs, and they then take their frustrations out on the people they consider “the enemy”.

  • freehand

    From ten seconds on the first cop has the victim leaning back off balance, unable to stand and turn.

    The victim cannot stand up or move forward without “assaulting the cop”.

    His hands first look like “You have the wrong guy”, then look like “I’m not going to cause trouble, no.”

    At 30 seconds it is impossible for him to stand or turn around and put his other hand behind him, although they’re probably yelling that while they hit him.

    .

    To be fair, he probably fit the description: black male, location NYC.

  • lorn

    “what was the idea of grinding the butt of your baton into the guy’s spine and kidneys AFTER you had him bent over the counter?”

    The intention, if typical training is a guide, was to force compliance. In this case compliance was incomplete, he was over the counter with the left wrist shackled but the right wrist was being held forward. The butt of the baton is being pressed into the floating ribs to inflict pain. This is a widely used and authorized technique taught at many police academies. Until such time as the person complies, allows the wrists to be brought together, the police are trained to compel compliance by any necessary means. They are trained to first order and then to inflict escalating levels of pain and force to gain compliance. As soon as the second wrist is hooked up the use of force stops.

    I always get a good laugh when people have never used or been exposed to force tell me about logic, as if you can force someone to do something they don’t want to do with logic. This ain’t a debating society. Lives and disability are on the line. A single punch delivered in the wrong way can kill or main.

    A neighbor was punched in the side of the head during a mugging, and it reduced her from a scholar planning to go to college to a woman barely intelligent enough to hold down a state subsidized job cleaning bathrooms. She has lived with her father, now 90, for over fifty years.

    The claim that people are safe to be around because they are ‘not armed’ is nonsense. Outside self control or external restraint humans are inherently dangerous. Larger people are inherently more capable of inflicting serious damage. Even if they intend to do no harm.

  • freehand

    lorn – As a former LPN and army EMT and now martial artist, I concur that simple punches (and pushes) can be crippling and even fatal, whether intended or not. That’s why I’m wondering why the police felt compelled to apply them to someone who was not physically resisting. I note that the victim was having the painful jabs from the baton applied when he was literally in no position to offer his second hand. It wasn’t until they pulled him away from the counter (at 34 seconds) that he was able to comply.

  • freehand

    lorn, I agree with you that Monday morning quarter backing by folks not personally exposed to violence can show an unrealistic idea of how it happens or which decisions can be reasonable. The higher brain functions shutdown; events happen faster than they can be properly evaluated; people act as they have been trained, which may be inappropriate for a particular situation; and especially violence may seem indicated when a leisurely, post event evaluation suggests that it was unnecessary (or vice-versa).

    .

    I’m just having trouble understanding why these cops attacked when the victim was off balance and holding his hands up in a universal sign of surrender.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    @lorn –

    —-A neighbor was punched in the side of the head during a mugging, and it reduced her from a scholar planning to go to college to a woman barely intelligent enough to hold down a state subsidized job cleaning bathrooms. —-

    A friend of mine was walking down the street. He dropped something, and it rolled under a car. He bent down to get it. A nearby cop thought this was apparently suspicious, and came over and started shouting in my friend’s face. My friend got frustrated and turned around to start walking away. The cop hit him in the back of the head, stunning him, then started inflicting pain to ‘induce compliance’ to the shouted remarks my friend could barely understand due to A) that they were shouted by a frothing jackass and B) he’d just been hit in the head.

    My friend suffered permanent vision damage in one eye, as well as damage to his kidney, and got a police record to boot. This ended his career in the armed forces.

    So, to sum up: Fuck you.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    —-The higher brain functions shutdown; events happen faster than they can be properly evaluated; people act as they have been trained, which may be inappropriate for a particular situation; and especially violence may seem indicated when a leisurely, post event evaluation suggests that it was unnecessary (or vice-versa).—-

    You know what fixes this problem?

    Proper training.

    These fucked up cops are acting as they’ve been trained. The problem is they’ve been trained to be violent jackasses with superiority complexes.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @WithinThisMind

    No, the problem is not merely training. The problem is that we do not have the legal structure in place to hold police accountable for their actions. The problem is that there is a legal framework in place that holds police almost completely unaccountable for their actions. This kind of police state is almost indistinguishable from the conditions that caused the American revolution – the occupation by an army to enforce the law and the army had superior police powers and near full defense against punishment for misbehavior. We’ve lost something important since then IMHO. One of the big steps backward was the US Supreme Court’s complete asspull invention of qualified immunity for police in 1971, but that’s not the only thing.

    Screw this noise about “proper training”. The police are mere professional bounty hunters in the colloquial sense of the word. There is no good reason why we should expect better behavior from a salaried bounty hunter (cop) vs contractor paid-by-commission bounty hunter (conventional bounty hunter). Hell, I actually expect better behavior from the contractor paid-by-commission bounty hunter, because they don’t have qualified immunity to fall back on, and so they will in general behave better to avoid personal consequences.

    We live in a police state. The police can ask for your ID with effectively no cause (in half the US states). The police can detain you for effectively no reasons for days. The police can beat you and generally suffer absolutely no consequences for doing so. The police can point guns at you without sufficient cause and generally suffer absolutely no consequences for doing so. The police can throw flash-bang grenades in a baby’s crib and suffer absolutely no consequences. Why the fuck are we ok with this?

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/05/baby-in-coma-after-police-grenade-dropped-in-crib-during-drug-raid/

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/07/us/georgia-toddler-stun-grenade-no-indictment/

    For example, what I suggest we do right now is remove qualified immunity from cops completely, and ban collective malfeasance insurance for cops. It’s said that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that’s true, unless you’re a cop, which is exactly ass-backwards. With these changes, cops will effectively be forced to acquire individual malfeasance to protect themselves from civil lawsuits, and if a bad cop repeatedly loses civil lawsuits, then their insurance costs will become too high to pay, and they will be forced out of the job. I want more, but this is a good first start.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    To continue:

    IMHO, you are also part of the problem, the problem of supporting this police state. No amount of training will make all cops behave better when they know that they will not suffer any consequences for bad actions. What we need is good old fashioned personal responsibility – of the cops themselves.

    Who watches the watchers?