An NYPD officer has been suspended without pay after he caught a viral video of him hitting a 14-year-old girl in the head during an after-school brawl in Staten Island, prompting a quick rebuke from Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday.
During an unrelated speech, Adams said that he “didn’t like what I saw in the video”, which went viral on social media.
Footage shows a police officer beating a teenager as he and another police officer tried to break up a fight that broke out outside Edwin Markham High School around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday.
The NYPD said officers were at a pedestrian post near Willowbrook Road and Forest Avenue and intervened in a fight between two girls.
The video showed the ensuing hand-to-hand fight, including a suspended police officer punching the girl several times in the head while other students tried to pull her away.
“There was a fight between two girls. We tried to intervene, and it looks like one of the girls tried to stop us from intervening,” an NYPD spokesman said.
“They tried to handcuff one of the girls,” the spokesman said. And someone pulled them.
Police said two girls, aged 12 and 14, were arrested and later released without criminal charges as the investigation continues.
The NYPD Department of Internal Affairs conducted an investigation and the officer, who was not publicly identified, was suspended without pay for up to 30 days, police sources said.
A police source said the 14-year-old hit the policeman first, but admitted that the force on the teenager was excessive.
“If you look at the camera on the body, it’s just total chaos,” the source said. “I think the officer overreacted. First she hits him and then he responds by hitting her more than once. It’s problematic.”
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch warned against rushing to a verdict “based on a few seconds of video.”
“It is clear at this point that these policemen were trying to break up a violent altercation when they themselves were attacked,” Lynch said. “A thorough investigation of all circumstances is now needed, not just what has been published on the Internet.”