The Brooklyn teen seen in viral video getting sucker punched by an NYPD cop during a violent subway brawl is suing for $5 million.
Benjamin Marshall and his parents filed a complaint Wednesday against the city of New York and police department over the incident, the family’s attorney Sanford Rubenstein confirmed to NBC New York. Marshall, 15, was assaulted by an officer during a fight that broke out inside the Jay St.-Metro Tech subway station last Friday.
Much of the melee was caught on cellphone video, showing several police officers tussling with a group of teens on the subway platform. Authorities were called to Jay Street that evening for reports of a skirmish between two large groups that started above ground.
Marshall was one of five teens arrested, but his parents insist he wasn’t involved in the brawl at all. They said he was only down on the platform searching for his book bag when he was randomly slugged by the officer.
“While he went down into the train station, there was a lot of cops, a lot of students,” Marshall’s dad, Anthony Noel, told the New York Daily News in a recent interview. “They were arresting a couple people. When he got down on the platform, one of his friends called out to him, [and] when he looked over, he got punched multiple times by a police officer in his head. Then he was slammed to the ground.”
Noel described the chaotic scene, noting there were “about six of them or eight” cops on top of his son.
“One put his knee in his neck,” he added. “[Benjamin] kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’ and they would not let up. They handcuffed him. Slammed him into a sign.”
Noel said he was outraged when he saw the video, which showed Marshall being pummeled by an unnamed officer. The now-viral clip starts as police are struggling to quell the fight, wrestling with many teens amid the chaos. At one point, one of the youths punches an officer, and things become even rowdier.
After working to subdue that teen, the video shows an officer suddenly rush Marshall, who was simply walking past the fracas. (Watch at :25 mark)
“Ooohh! Y’all see that ?” someone is heard yelling. “He didn’t even do nothing. He didn’t do nothing!”
Marshall swings back at the offending officer, prompting several other officers to join in and take him down.
The Science Skills Center High School student, whose parents said has never had trouble with the police, was charged with resisting arrest, assault on an officer, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
Footage of the incident sparked anger among the city’s leaders, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who called for disciplinary action against the cop who assaulted Marshall.
“The officer who punched the two teens should immediately be placed on modified assignment until a complete investigation can be carried out,” he said. “At best, his actions were off base and reflect poorly on the men and women of the NYPD.”
The police agency responded to the backlash, saying “publicly available video doesn’t show the entirety of the incident,” and that the department is conducting an investigation.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill later confirmed that the officer involved has been placed on “non-enforcement duties.”