New York, NY — A rather disturbing video surfaced earlier this month showing an NYPD cop point his gun at multiple unarmed and innocent citizens who are doing nothing but pleading with him to calm down. The video, submitted to the NY Daily News, shows how close police officers come to shooting innocent people.
According to the report, the footage is from a scene that unfolded earlier this month on Deen Street in Prospect Heights. Police allege that the man seen on the ground, with the officer’s knee on his face, threw cash into the air to distract onlookers in an attempt to get away.
As the video begins, the officer has one man down on the ground who remains silent and entirely compliant. In the background, however, another man is struggling with police.
Cash is seen all over the ground as someone off camera yells, “Yo, get all the money, bro!”
The people filming the interaction did not appear to be involved in picking up the money, and only appeared to be documenting the situation.
When the witnesses notice how hard the plainclothes cop is kneeling on the man’s head, they beg him to “calm down.” But this was not happening.
“Step back!” the officer yells at the witnesses as they film him.
He then brandishes his gun and points it at several people, yelling at them to “get back!”
“Put the gun down,” a witness yells at police.
At this point, another officer in plainclothes shows up and yells at all the bystanders to “get the f**k out of here!”
After the cop is seen pointing a gun at several unarmed citizens, the video then ends.
Police remained silent after the video originally surfaced. However, later they responded and justified the actions of the officer, noting that arresting people sometimes “doesn’t look pretty.”
“This was an arrest they made, or were attempting to make, where an individual decided that as he was being arrested he was going to take whatever cash I assume he had stolen and throw that up into a crowd, creating a chaotic situation,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters.
“While that was happening, two other individuals decided that they were not going to let… that person be arrested. There was a physical struggle.”
The two men in the video, Carey Cruise, 29, and Edwin Barreto, 26, were both arrested on a slew of charges stemming from the interaction.
As the NY Daily News reports:
Cops charged Cruise with petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a weapon — for a knife police say he was carrying — obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct.
Barreto is charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, menacing, disorderly conduct and harassment.
“If somebody does not want to be arrested, sometimes it doesn’t look pretty,” O’Neill said. “It’s a hard job.”
What do you think? Was the officer in the video below justified in pointing his weapon at people who were simply trying to tell him to calm down? What would have happen had he squeezed off a round? Would a taser have been more appropriate?
Let us know in the comments below.