This video shows a remarkable scene of police overkill in a Harlem subway station on the afternoon of May 13. What begins as two cops from the NYPD trying to handcuff a seemingly unthreatening black man quickly spirals into over two dozen officers flooding the station to arrest him.
The video opens with one of the two arresting officers repeatedly shouting, “Put your hands behind your back and stop resisting!” at the suspect, who they have pinned to the ground. The second officer, who looks extremely uncomfortable, gently asks his partner to “relax” several times.
The two officers then force the suspect—or, more accurately, the victim—to his feat and try to handcuff him up against the wall. But the suspect keeps planting his foot and hand on the wall and explains to the officers that he’s afraid they will slam his face into it. They assure him they won’t and they cuff him, at which point all hell breaks loose.
Around the 1:02 mark, two more cops come rushing in and literally grab the victim’s feet from under him, slamming his body to the ground as he screams “I haven’t done anything, I haven’t done anything!”
At the 1:30 mark, the handcuffed man is being held face down on the ground by all four police officers when cop comes storms in asking his fellow officers “You guys alright?” as though they were the ones who had just been brutally attacked. Still, more cops trickle and then flood into the station until the victim is completely submerged under what looks like an angry lynch mob.
The person recording the incident on his cell phone is then forced out of the station, which has been surrounded by a dozen police cars outside.
The video ends with witnesses telling the cameraman that the victim was just “standing there” when he was arrested for “no reason”.
Can you imagine how difficult it would be to live in an environment where this shit goes down on the regular? Make no mistake, the scene in the above video is routine in certain NYC communities where people of color are disproportionately stopped, questioned, frisked and harassed as a matter of policy. And the slightest sign of resistance, like instinctively protecting your face from being slammed into a wall, could land you behind bars for “resisting” or even “assaulting” a police officer, a label that brings on a world of trouble.