NYPD officers were filmed using a stun gun on a Black man who allegedly had held open a subway emergency exit door for a fellow passenger, allowing them to avoid paying the fare.
The man who was tased during the incident on 6 July has been identified by an NYPD spokesman as 29-year-old David Crowell from the Bronx.
Police said he opened an emergency gate at the 116th Street Station in Manhattan to allow a man to enter.
Two videos show the interaction between Mr Crowell and a group of NYPD officers – one filmed by a bystander that included the moment the stun gun was used, and bodycam footage released by the NYPD that showed officers interact with Mr Crowell before he was tased.
The police body-camera footage shows an annoyed and agitated Mr Crowell in a subway car as an officer tries to speak with him from the station platform.
“I paid,” Mr Crowell says several times. He subsequently swears at the officers.
“F*** the police. What do my back say?” Mr Crowell says and turns around and pulls up his shirt to show his back, seemingly to display a tattoo.
“You bust that s***, I’m going to run you. I promise you,” he told the officers, appearing to threaten them.
Police said Mr Crowell resisted arrest, refused to leave the train, and threatened NYPD officers.
The video filmed by a bystander shows several officers enter a train car and surround Mr Crowell.
“I paid. I paid,” he says again to the officers.
Other passengers appealed to the police that Mr Crowell had paid his fare.
Shortly after a female officer moves towards Mr Crowell to place him in handcuffs, he starts to flail and struggles with officers as they try to hold on to him.
That’s when one of the officers shoots Mr Crowell in the back with a stun gun. Mr Crowell falls and screams in anguish.
Police said Mr Crowell was arrested on several charges, including resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and disorderly conduct.
The NYPD added that when confronted by officers, the man Mr Crowell had allowed to enter through the emergency gate then paid his fare.
A police spokesman declined to identify the officer who used the stun gun, NBC News reported.
The attorney representing Mr Crowell, Bethany Bonsu, told Gothamist: “The charges levied against Mr Crowell are legally insufficient. There was no reason for almost ten NYPD officers to corner Mr Crowell on the subway and tase him.”
“Insults alone don’t faze us, but when they cross over into threats of violence, we need to take action,” the president of the New York City Police Benevolent Association Pat Lynch said in a statement, according to NBC New York. “If this individual felt bold enough to threaten a group of uniformed cops, what is he going to do to those straphangers once the train doors close?”
“Look, first of all, I’ll state the obvious: Fare evasion is not acceptable,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. “Whether you do it yourself, or you help someone else, it’s not acceptable, and, you know, from the – what I understand of the NYPD body camera footage, the individual involved was very aggressive, and in some ways, even threatening towards police, that’s just not acceptable either.”
“The goal is to de-escalate. Clearly here we did not end up with a de-escalated situation. So, this needs to be looked at carefully to see what can be done differently going forward,” the mayor added.
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