What to Know
- Seven New Yorkers were arrested earlier this month from what the NYPD says started as social distancing enforcement
- Video of one incident shows a violent arrest by an officer who has since been placed on modified duty
- Commissioner Shea and Mayor de Blasio expressed disappointment in the arrest at the time
Several NYPD officers involved in a violent East Village arrest earlier this month will face disciplinary charges, the department said on Friday.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea had already said he was not happy with how the arrests were handled, sparking an internal investigation that left one officer on modified duty.
The May 2 incident was captured on camera and caught the attention of activists and New York City leaders, who have demanded the city enact fair and uniform enforcement of social distancing across all communities.
According to police, number of officers approached a small group that was not following social distancing orders along Avenue D and East 9th Street. When some of the group refused to disperse officers approached and discovered a bag of marijuana, the NYPD said.
The department says a man became aggressive with officers and when they tried to arrest him a woman tried to intervene.
During these arrests another man entered the area and "took a fighting stance against" an officer after he was asked to disperse, the NYPD said. In the video widely circulated, the officer is seen using a Taser to warn the man and then the two struggle and the officer slaps the man.
The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau said Friday that "several members" of the department are being recommended for discipline, with departmental charges expected as soon as next week.
Shea revealed after the incident that the officers recovered a Taser device and what he called a small amount of marijuana from two of the people arrested.
But he also made his displeasure clear with what he saw on the video.
"We can be better than that quite frankly," he said after the incident.
"We’ll learn from it, continue to train and try to get better. I would also remind you that de-escalation takes two, there are two people involved in every encounter."