An New York City police officer who was filmed brutally beating a bystander while enforcing social distancing has been stripped of his gun and badge.
The officer, identified as Francisco Garcia, has been placed on desk duty pending an internal investigation into the clip that showed Garcia slamming 33-year-old Donni Wright to the ground before punching him and kneeling on his neck in the East Village on Saturday.
The violent altercation came moments after plainclothes police officers were seen arresting a man and woman who were talking outside a deli. Police reportedly told the couple to separate in accordance with social distancing orders, but and ‘observed a bag of alleged marijuana in plain view,’ during the confrontation.
Garcia then breaks away from his fellow officers and is seen pointing a taser at Wright before slamming him to the ground and battering him. Wright was charged with assaulting an officer, menacing, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, although those charges have since been deferred while an investigation is conducted.
This pig got to go
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned Garcia’s actions on Twitter on Sunday, writing: ‘The behavior I saw in that video is simply not acceptable.’
However, in a statement following the incident, NYPD spokesperson Mary O’Donnell said Wright ‘took a fighting stance against the officer.’ The footage appears to show Wright’s hands at his sides, although he can be seen making a fist with his right hand. Another video taken from a different angle appears to show the officer approaching Wright without any provocation, but it is unclear what ultimately led to Wright’s arrest.
Before anyone has something to say about the video I posted in defense of the cop saying that he’s doing his job or that the guy was wrong here is another angle. The officer walked up to him and before that he and his partners grabbed up a male and female for sitting on their front steps talking. No one broke the law, it was all because in their eyes, they werenât SOCIAL DISTANCING. In the name of social distancing the @NYPD then put their hands and breath and bodies all over people, beat them up, handcuffed, arrested them and sent them to jail where social distancing is impossible. ð¡ð¡ð¡ All while other people ( I’m not gonna name any COLORS but y’all already know ) gathered together outside ALL OVER NEW YORK yesterday. Please share before this video get taken down!
‘Donni wasn’t being aggressive, he was just talking. He never raised his hands or hit him. Cop just took it upon himself to start beating him. I was standing right next to him. I could hear everything,’ Daquan Owens, the witness who shot the video, told Gothamist.
Saturday’s incident comes as the NYPD deployed 1,000 officers to social distancing patrols over the weekend, which saw New Yorkers get 51 summonses for flouting the distancing orders.
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