A video that shows NYPD officers punching a suspect while attempting to make an arrest went viral earlier in the week — but now police have released footage that shows the violence that led up to that altercation.
According to police, the incident began around 6 p.m. Tuesday when officers saw a man smoking in the South Ferry subway station in Lower Manhattan. Officers told him that was not allowed, and they tried to escort him out of the station — but they say he spit in a cop's face along the way.
Immediately after, police said he punched an officer in the face and headbutted another. Both the officers and the suspect fell down the stairs at the station, and then the man once again punched an officer, police said.
The NYPD says the video released Thursday night shows the cops fighting back while they tried to restrain him.
Over the course of the fracas, one officer suffered cuts to his head and injured his knee. Another injured his elbow.
Pat Lynch, the President of the Police Benevolence Association, said the officers were doing exactly what is asked of them by enforcing transit rules.
"For their efforts, they were spat on, attacked, thrown down a flight of stairs, and one police officer nearly had his ear ripped off," Lynch said in a statement. "None of that assault was shown in the partial video circulating online."
The suspect was identified as 50-year-old Alex Lowery. Police said he has a history of violent crimes, including an unprovoked transit attack in 2017 in which he held a knife to a stranger's throat.
He is facing multiple counts for Tuesday's incident including assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Attorney information for Lowery was not immediately made available.