The New York police officer who was caught on camera punching a Black teenager who was already in police custody has been suspended while the New York Police Department Internal Affairs Bureau investigates the arrest.
“An individual that we have identified as a plainclothes anti-crime officer runs up and appears to strike the individual with a closed fist twice on the side of the body,” New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday. “That officer has been suspended pending the investigation going forward.”
The NYPD announced the suspension on Friday, but they didn’t reveal the name of the officer.
In New York City and around the country, people have been protesting for months against police brutality and racial profiling. The lack of trust between police and the communities they are supposed to protect has encouraged bystanders to gather their own proof and use video to attempt to hold police accountable. A police brutality witness in Staten Island used his cellphone to record NYPD officer, Daniel Pantaleo, putting Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man, in the chokehold that ultimately killed him. Despite the video evidence, Pantaleo wasn’t indicted by the grand jury.
The Black teenager who was assaulted by the officer was 16-year-old Denzel Funderburk, according to a CBS New York. He and two other teenagers, 16 and 17, were arrested on Dec. 15 because they were suspected of assaulting someone with a cane. The three teenagers were charged with gang assault. Funderburk was also charged with assault, obstruction, criminal possession of a weapon and other charges, according to CBS New York.
The charges were dropped before the video was released on the Wednesday following the arrest, New York Daily News reported.
The video of the arrest, which was posted on Dec. 17, showed the Black teenager pinned against the hood of a car by three officers as the plainclothes cop rushes in to deliver at least two body punches.
Police procedure expert and professor at John Jay College, Robert McRie, said that police officers who attack suspects that have already been subdued are subject to disciplinary action.
“There doesn’t seem to be any legitimate reason for it,” McRie told CBS. “He wasn’t moving at the time the blows were delivered and he was in no position to escape.”