Teen Says He Was Innocent Bystander, Claims He Was Tackled, Kicked and Punched by Police

What to Know

  • An 18-year-old says he was at a deli in Brooklyn when police on a drug investigation mistook him for a suspect
  • He says he was tackled and then punched and kicked by officers, who arrested him and charged him with marijuana possession
  • The NYPD has launched an internal review of the incident

A teen says officers mistook him for a drug suspect before chasing, tackling and arresting him on a Brooklyn sidewalk – and now the NYPD has launched an internal review of the incident.

In an exclusive interview with News 4, the 18-year-old said he was kicked and punched during the arrest and that he’s still shaken a day later. He asked not to be named, fearing retaliation.

“That’s just straight up police brutality. And I was an innocent bystander,” he said.

The teen was at a deli near Pacific Street and East New York Avenue in Brownsville on Wednesday afternoon when he says he stumbled into the middle of a drug investigation.

Grainy surveillance video shows the moment police pounced, cuffing several drug suspects as they walked from the deli. The 18-year-old says he just happened to leave the deli right after them.

The surveillance video shows him backing away down the sidewalk with his hands up. He says that’s when the officers zeroed in on him. “I didn’t resist. I didn’t try to maneuver away from the officer,” he said.

He says he was punched and kicked by the officers while on the ground, which left him with throbbing back and head pain.

The NYPD confirmed Thursday that internal affairs is investigating. The department says the teen was released after being given a summons for marijuana possession, although he disputes having drugs on him.

“During a narcotics operation the individual was stopped and taken to the ground, which was documented and investigated at the scene,” the NYPD said. “During the course of the stop, the individual was found to be in possession of a quantity of marihuana and was issued a summons.”

The 18-year-old disputes having drugs. “I feel like they needed something to show their boss,” he said.

He’s now wrestling with an experience he called scarring.

“I know police brutality is real, so I just thought they would help me. But instead they beat me up,” he said.

Police said three people were arrested in connection with the drug investigation Wednesday.

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