The Bronx district attorney and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating what exactly happened in an online video that shows police officers hitting a Bronx teen with a baton.
Officers arrested Jateik Reed, 19, on Thursday, and are seen in the YouTube video hitting and kicking him with a baton while he is on the ground.
At a press conference this morning, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the officers in the video are on modified duty.
“Those videos are troubling,” he said. “We are doing a full investigation.”
Reed was arraigned Sunday on charges of drug possession and assault. Cops said he had marijuana and cocaine on him during the arrest, and also hit an officer in the nose while he was being handcuffed. Police said that officer required stitches.
Family members, and online commenters, protested that cops used too much force. But an officer wrote in the criminal complaint that Reed “flailed his arms, refusing to be handcuffed.”
Three of Reed’s family and friends were themselves arrested later that day at the precinct and charged with disorderly conduct. Family members told NY1 they were there checking on Reed, who was in pain with staples in his head.
Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD officer and professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said police intent is difficult to ascertain from a video.
“The kinds of things [the Internal Affairs Bureau] look at is why did he resist, did they know he stopped resisting,” he said.
If police believed he was resisting arrest, they can use force, he said. But a police officer using force when someone is clearly complying would be a problem, he said.
“Few uses of force look good on video, but the fact that something doesn’t look good on video doesn’t make it unlawful,” he said.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro