Video shows NYPD officer taking $1,300 from man, then pepper-spraying him
Video has surfaced appearing to show a New York City police officer taking $1,300 from a man who says he was robbed and then pepper-sprayed by the cop during a stop-and-frisk last month that ended without arrest.
The New York Daily News published exclusive video of the September 16 incident on Wednesday this week and reported that the Brooklyn district attorney’s office is now investigation allegations of wrongdoing concerning the action exhibited in the clip.
Attorneys for Lamard Joye, the man who is seen on film being frisked, robbed and assaulted by the cop, told the Daily News that the footage demonstrates disturbing conduct not just on the part of the one officer, who has yet to be named by the New York Police Department, but his fellow colleagues as well amidst a series of scandals that has surrounded the agency for ages.
“One of the most disturbing things about the video is the other cops standing around watching and doing nothing to stop the wrongdoing,” lawyer Robert Marinelli told the paper.
According to the NYPD, the incident started to unfold on Sept. 16 when police were dispatched to respond to a call concerning a man with a gun.
“When officers arrived at the scene, they encountered numerous people at the location. As a result of the allegations, the matter is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau and CCRB,” or Civilian Complaint Review Board, the NYPD told the New York Times.
Marinelli provided a copy of the videotape to the Brooklyn DA’s office, he told the Daily News, and the borough’s top attorney, Kenneth Thompson, told the Times that he’s “aware of the alleged incident and it is being actively and thoroughly investigated.”
Until a proper probe concludes, however, what happened last month to Joye and the reasoning behind it remains up for discussion: according to Marinelli, his client was not arrested after being frisked, his money was never returned and an explanation has not been offered by the NYPD or any official agency.
“I believe that this officer made an assumption that any money Mr. Joye possessed was obtained illegally and therefore he would not report the theft,” Marinelli told the Times. “This assumption was wrong. Mr. Joye is a hardworking taxpayer. An incident like this would never occur in a more affluent section of the city.”
According to the Daily News, Marinelli provided the DA’s chief civil rights prosecutor with the not only the video footage, but also pay stubs and other visual evidence that he says will show that his client withdrew cash he earned from his construction job in order to celebrate his birthday with his wife on the evening the incident occurred.
Video footage recorded on an eyewitness’s cell phone does not show a celebration, though, but instead an apparently fruitless stop-and-frisk procedure gone awry.
“Gimme my money!” Joye is heard in the clip yelling at the cop before being doused with pepper-spray,
“How ya gonna take his money?” “That’s robbery” and “Get his badge number,” an onlooker is heard saying in the Daily News clip.
When Joye’s sister tried to find out the officer’s identity — an interaction also caught on tape — she was sprayed as well.
“I went to get his badge number and name,” Lateefah Joye told the Daily News. “I leaned over to see his badge. He pushed me away. I saw a two and a one and that’s when he pepper-sprayed me in my mouth and my whole face.”
“I’m outraged,” she told the paper. “It’s very outrageous. I’ve witnessed a lot of things cops have done. But what can you do? I’m not a violent person. I’m an athlete.”
The NYPD’s tactics have increasingly landed the agency in the spotlight as of late thanks to the routine sharing of amateur video footage showing officers behaving in a barrage of questionable conduct. In July, NYPD officers were videotaped choking a man who was later pronounced dead.