NYC Officials, Activists Outraged Over Cops Punching Teens During Subway Brawl

New York City officials have called for an investigation after New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers were seen brutally punching teens on a New York subway platform.

A fight between a crowd of teenagers and NYPD officers broke out at the Jay Street-MetroTech Station in Brooklyn, New York on Friday, October 25 just after 2 p.m., according to WCBS. The NYPD told WNBC in a statement the officers were dispatched to the subway station because of reports of two large groups of teens fist fighting. Inside the train station, officers told the news outlet one of the teens struck one of the officers.

Despite the officer’s accounts, the video uploaded to social media did not show this. The video, which has garnered 228,000 views on Twitter, shows officers pushing the teens back from what appears to be a few other NYPD officers attempting to detain one of the teens. As the officers are pushing the teens back, an officer can be seen coming toward a teen and punching him in the face.

While the officers continue to push some of the other teens in the area away from the incident, another officer can be seen pushing another teen and then hitting him in the face. The two continue to fight until the other officers pull the two apart from each other and detain the teen. The NYPD told WNBC it arrested five people ranging from the ages of 15- to 18-years-old, who were charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer. The incident is currently under investigation.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told WCBS that he believes one of the officers in the video appeared to have escalated the incident. The former police officer called for the officer be placed on modified assignment during the ongoing investigation.

“To me, he went beyond the call of duty,” he told the news station. “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 a police department.”

A recent report from The New York Daily News stated that one of the officers who punched one of the teens in the video has a history of allegations against him, including excessive force. The cop, who still remains unnamed, has been reportedly placed on a "non-enforcement assignment" during the investigation, according to the publication.

Other community leaders have spoken out against the incident, demanding that the officers be disciplined if the pending investigation finds them to have used excessive force.

“This video shows a situation that clearly spun out of control, and the public has a right to know how this happened. We need a full investigation, and discipline against any and all officers that acted inappropriately or used excessive force,” NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson previously tweeted.

“WHY is a presumably trained @nypdnews officer punching young men (plural) in the face. W/o video there’d be no discussion & @nygovcuomo wants to add police w/ no cameras @ all,” NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams wrote on Twitter.

“The public needs answers.”

This isn’t the first incident in the past week where the NYPD were called out for how they police civilians. In a video uploaded to Twitter on the same day, subway riders can be seen inside a subway car panicked because NYPD officers were tapping and pointing their guns. The video shows subway riders moving away from the doors of the subway car and officer’s guns can be heard tapping against the windows of the car as a Black man raises his arms in the air. Seconds later, two officers can be seen throwing the man onto the ground as dozens of officers enter the subway car.

In a statement to WNBC, the NYPD stated that the officers were responding to “an alert for a male with a gun.” The man, who was identified as 19-year-old Adrian Napier, did not have a gun on him. The officers said when they approached Napier on Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, he ran into the Pacific Subway Street station and hopped a turnstile before running onto the southbound 4 train.

The officers reportedly “transmitted” Napier’s description to other officers and the police stopped him at the Franklin Avenue station, police told WNBC. Napier was "wanted for questioning in regard to a past larceny," and the teen was arrested for jumping the subway turnstile and charged with theft of service, according to the news station.

What can be done about this:

In an interview with The North Star, Darian X, who works with Make the Road New York and the Communities United for Police Reform, said the police created an environment that was violent, dangerous, and scary for everyone that was involved in both situations.

“They created environments that were chaotic, that were racially charged and they charged very specific people,” Darian said. In September, the MTA announced that it would hire 500 people as transit police officers, Gothamist previously reported.

It’s apparent that following these incidents, hiring more police officers is problematic. Darian said this type of behavior shown in both videos should not be acceptable and that these officers should be fired for their actions.

“It’s an uphill battle,” Darian told TNS. “We have a mayor, a governor and a police commissioner who are not interested in police accountability. It’s our perspective that each and every officers need to be disciplined in a swift and transparent way so our communities can feel like there are some sense of justice.”

The activist stated that communities are already fighting to make sure that police are held accountable for their actions. For those who want to get involved, he urged them to do their research.

“We must continue to work with young people who are Black and Brown, those who are in low-income communities, in public schools and those who have been in the criminal justice system before because these are the communities that have been impacted the most,” said Darian.

To learn how to get involved with Communities United for Police Reform, click here.