What to Know
- Video of a violent arrest during a traffic stop in Harlem has left a family outraged and a community questioning the officers’ methods
- Cops pulled the driver over but the stop soon turned chaotic, and an officer is seen on video punching the driver as he was on the ground
- The driver received more than a dozen stitches from the incident, and police say the matter is under internal review
Video of a violent arrest during a traffic stop in Harlem has left a family outraged and a community questioning the officers’ methods.
According to the 20-year-old driver named Kevin, who did not want to share his last name, he was driving carefully in the afternoon on July 9 when he noticed a cop pull a U-turn and start following him. He said he got nervous and tried to pull over into an open parking space, which is when the officer pulled him over.
Kevin was initially ticketed for failing to signal while driving at Fifth Avenue and West 130th Street. Video from the incident, which has since gone viral online, shows civilians and cops gathered around the car during the traffic stop.
Police said Kevin did not have his driver’s license and the car was unregistered and uninsured, a claim the family disputes. The officers involved soon warned everyone to stay away from the vehicle. But Kevin’s sister is seen reaching into a window for what she said was a phone charger, and a lieutenant shoves her and two others, drawing his stun gun.
“I’m a female, why did you just put your hands on me? Was that necessary?” Kevin’s sister questioned during an interview with News 4 Friday. “You asked me to back up and I complied, I backed up. I was no harm, had no weapon.”
After that, the traffic stop turned chaotic, as cops tackled Kevin to the ground, and one officer is seen on video repeatedly punching him in the head as he lies on the pavement.
Officers say the 20-year-old man was resisting, a claim he denies.
“I just remember … being on the floor, and my face is being pushed on the floor, and (the officer) is just jabbing, jabbing, jabbing, at my head, multiple times,” Kevin told News 4.
Kevin received more than a dozen stitches from the incident.
“I’m still in shock that my little brother got beat by police, has never did anything to police before,” his sister said.
The district attorney said they will not prosecute Kevin, his sister or a third individual who was charged at the scene with obstruction.
Police say the matter is under internal review, and they have maintained that officers conducted themselves appropriately at the scene.
The attorney for Kevin’s family said they would like to see the DA pursue charges against the officer who threw the punches, and the family is considering a lawsuit against the department.