De Blasio calls video of violent NYPD arrest ‘really troubling’
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday called video of NYPD cops using batons against two men in Upper Manhattan “really troubling” — and a police source said the incident could get at least one officer arrested.
De Blasio said “very preliminary” information suggested “that the individuals involved were creating a real problem for neighbors” and may have resisted arrest.
“But that being said, the images I saw in that video were really troubling. And we need to know a lot more,” the mayor said during an unrelated news conference at City Hall.
“If people are on the ground and yet there is still physical action being taken, that concerns me. So I want to get some answers and I want to quickly hear from the NYPD on the investigation.”
A law enforcement source also said one of the unidentified cops violated NYPD guidelines by smacking one of the men in the head during the Tuesday afternoon incident in Washington Heights.
The source said one of the cops claimed that one of the men “swung on him” before the clip begins, but added: “Regardless, headshots are totally wrong.”
“They teach you … The head is red zone. You don’t hit anyone in the red zone. Waist, knees, thighs. Head? No,” the source said.
“You could have killed him. The cop could get arrested for this. If they don’t find video of that guy swinging at the cop, he should be done. He was wrong.”
The head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association called the incident “the consequences of lax policies that have allowed a lawless atmosphere to flourish in the subways, endangering both commuters and the cops who respond to protect them.”
“Police officers had ejected the two individuals depicted in this video from the subway system due to complaints from transit riders,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said.
“What the video doesn’t show is that these perps — one of whom has been previously arrested for assaulting a police officer — threw a haymaker at the cops once they got above ground, necessitating the use of force to bring them into custody.”
The NYPD identified the men as Aaron Grissom, 36, of the Bronx, and Sydney Williams, 37, of Brooklyn, and said they were arrested with charges pending.
The incident unfolded after the cops confronted the men in response to complaints that they were smoking and blocking the entrance to a nearby subway station, sources said.
On Dec. 5, both men were busted about a block away for allegedly menacing and assaulting a cop, sources said.