The NYPD is investigating if an officer overstepped his power when an arrest turned into a fistfight. The confrontation was recorded on video.
Saykou George was stopped by police officers because they saw a knife clipped to his pants pocket, according to WABC-TV New York. The incident took place on Frederick Douglas Boulevard near 131st Street in Harlem on Wednesday.
George’s companion, Jun Ice, started recording the conversation between his friend and two officers, one male and one female, on his cell phone. The recording was later published on Live Leak.
The video shows how George hands over his ID to the male police office which he puts into his pocket. When the officer takes out handcuffs, George tries to walk away from him.
The officer pushes George several times lightly, and then puts up his fists in a martial arts stance and the two start a fistfight.
The female officer called for assistance. While the two were circling and sparring in what can be described as a boxing match, more police arrived.
Manhandled by several police officers, George was pushed to the ground and arrested.
“The cops instigated the whole situation,” WABC-TV New York quoted Jun Ice as saying. “We weren’t arguing, we weren’t fighting, we were just walking home. There was no reason for them to stop us.”
Internal Affairs is now looking into the details of the arrest, according to local media.
“My preliminary review, I saw nothing inappropriate with the officers’ behavior,” Commissioner William Bratton said.
A statement from the Patrolmen Benevolent Association said the incident was “a text book example of an individual who was spotted with a weapon resisting arrest, attempting to walk away and the two police officers involved doing exactly what they must do to take the man into custody.”
“Given the current atmosphere on the streets today, people mistakenly think that they have the right to resist arrest and that inevitably leads to confrontation and potential injury,” PBA president Patrick J. Lynch said.