Charges Expected Against NYPD Officers In Violent Social Distancing Arrest

WCBS 880 Newsroom
May 29, 2020 - 3:13 pm

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The NYPD says charges are expected to be filed against officers involved in a violent social distancing arrest earlier this month.

The Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD conluded its investigation into the incident, which occurred on May 2 near Avenue D and Ninth Street, and is "recommending discipline for several members of the Department involved in the incident," the department said, adding charges are expected as early as next week.

"New York State law prescribes the process for these disciplinary proceedings. The Department will adhere to the law, ensure due process for all involved and go wherever the facts take us," the NYPD said in a statement.

Bystander video showed a plainclothes officer, who was not wearing a protective face mask, pointing a stun gun at 33-year-old Donni Wright and then slapping him in the face, punching him in the shoulder and dragging him to a sidewalk after knocking to the ground in a crosswalk in the East Village.

Minutes before the confrontation with Wright, video from a nearby security camera showed officers used force in arresting a couple for allegedly failing to comply when asked to disperse. 

The officer has been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty.

Following the incident, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said, "I was not happy with what I saw. I think we can be better than that quite frankly."

The incident was among several other violent confrontations that raised questions about the police department’s use of force, the role of officers in enforcing social distancing measures and inconsistency in how they’re applied.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on May 15 announced a "reset" of police policy, saying  the NYPD would no long enforce face covering requirements and would prioritize dispersing groups of six or more adults.

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