A video released last week has once again caught the police in a lie. Two NYPD officers were caught assaulting a man for filming an officer who was inappropriately touching his female friend during a stop and frisk.
Jason Disisto and his friends were hanging out on a sidewalk on March 12, 2014, when Officer Jonathan Munoz walked up to Disisto’s female friend, grabbed her wrist, and began to put his hands inside her sweater. Concerned about what he is seeing, Disisto borrows a cellphone and attempts to begin filming the interaction. This is something that we are all well within our rights- and frankly morally obligated- to do.
Seeing that he is about to film, another officer on the scene, Edwin Flores, confronts Disisto. The situation escalates very quickly as two officers are seen assaulting the man and attempting to steal his phone. Disisto is then arrested, as the police claimed that he had lunged at the officers and attempted to punch them with a closed fist.
The blatant lies by the NYPD officers are completely disproved by three security cameras that captured the incident from multiple angles.
After the officers handcuff Disisto and put him in the back of the police vehicle, they throw the cellphone out of the window and break it. He was charged with obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Criminal charges against Disisto were ultimately dropped, yet no charges seem to have been filed for the officers who assaulted, kidnapped, and destroyed the property of an innocent man.
“I was shocked. I was scared, shocked. I had a whole bunch of feelings all mixed up,” Disisto told NBC.
Unfortunately, it’s more than “just a few bad apples” as the police and their supporters like to claim.
In 2014, the Civilian Complaint Review Board investigated 42 cases of individuals recording the police over the course of just six months, in 27 of the cases, police were accused of reacting inappropriately to the camera presence.
On Tuesday, a civil rights law firm, Rankin and Taylor, filed a lawsuit against Officer Munoz, Officer Edwin Florez, a third unidentified officer, as well as the NYPD on behalf of Disisto. The firm is also representing six other cases of police misconduct in response to being filmed.
The lawsuit accuses the department of having a “de facto policy” of “making retaliatory arrests against people who lawfully photograph, document or record police activity.”
“The ability to record their conduct to create objective evidence of what our government is doing is absolutely essential for the safety of all New Yorkers,” Rankin told NBC.