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Video Goes Viral Showing Arrest of Teenage Suspects on East Broadway (Updated 12/20))

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WARNING: This video contains graphic language.

In the past few days, a video showing the arrest of three young African American suspects on East Broadway Monday afternoon went viral. It was shot by a woman named Sara Doneghy, who noted on social media:

This happened today on my way to the post office. The kids were 12. They had supposedly pushed one of their classmates down. However when the victim was asked, he said those weren’t the guys. They were still taken away.

Early in the tape, a plainclothes officer runs over to the location where uniformed officers are attempting to handcuff one of three young men and punches the suspect several times. Onlookers can be heard strongly criticizing the cops for their actions. While the video has been making the rounds on various websites, it wasn’t picked up by mainstream media until today. This morning, the New York Post reports that the NYPD’s internal affairs division is investigating the incident.

A few moments ago, we spoke with police about the events that transpired on Monday. They say that the suspects were not 12 years old. One is 16, while the other two are 17 years old.  Cops indicate they were involved in a gang initiation rite on Madison Street across from the Rutgers public housing development.

The suspects are accused of hitting a bystander, a man in his early 20’s, over the head with a cane. Uniformed cops caught up with the suspects on East Broadway, just west of Clinton Street, a few moments later. They say one of the teens resisted arrest. The plainclothes officer, they tell us, stepped in as other cops struggled to cuff the suspect. The teen, they say, was not injured during the arrest. All three have been charged with felony gang assault.

The victim, who lives in Connecticut, required medical attention. The police report stated that he sustained “serious physical injuries.”

The 7th Precinct called Internal Affairs following the incident. That’s standard procedure any time physical force is used during an arrest.

UPDATED 4:45 p.m. The NYPD has suspended the officer seen punching the teen in the video. The suspect has been identified as 16-year-old Denzel Funderburk. In addition to the gang assault charge, he was also charged with obstruction and criminal possession of a weapon.

UPDATED 6:54 p.m. City Council member Margaret Chin released a statement this evening regarding the East Broadway incident:

Upon seeing this video, I was very disturbed by what appears to be an excessive use of force by a plainclothes police officer. My staff reached out to the NYPD in order to confirm the details reported in the media about this incident, which took place in my district this past Monday. I commend the NYPD for taking swift action to suspend the plainclothes officer shown in the video, as well as beginning an internal investigation into his actions during the incident. I also want to make it clear that it is apparent to me that the uniformed officers shown in the video were correctly protecting and serving the public by taking the proper steps in responding to a 911 call and arresting suspects. Regarding the actions of the plainclothes officer and the NYPD internal investigation into his actions, my staff and I will be following the case very closely.

UPDATED 12/20 11 a.m. Police Commissioner William Bratton said yesterday, “An individual ended up hospitalized as a result of a beating that he may have received at the hands of three or four young men and during the effort to arrest one of the men thought to be involved in the incident an individual that we have identified as one of our plain clothed officers runs up and appears to strike the (teen) with a closed fist twice in the side of the body.”  He added, ““That officer has been suspended pending the investigation going forward.”  The officer has been identified as John McDevit of the 7th Precinct’s anti-crime unit. The victim suffered a broken jaw. Late last night the Post reported:

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute and a spokeswoman declined to say why. However, the decision was made days before the video became public and had nothing to do with the officer’s actions, sources said.

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  1. Maybe it’s just an indication there may be a disconnect between the public and the police.
    A sort of us vs them.
    A little bit of mistrust.
    Could that be why there are some who are protesting police actions?
    What say you?

  2. Whoever said these guys are 12, ought to have an eye exam.

    Besides the plainclothes cop going “excessive” there are other things to notice in this video.

    First you’ll notice, the guy with the red hood is physically big but is cooperating, and absolutely nothing happened to him. Cops are people too with families who want to go home at the end of the day. If you resist arrest you’re a complete fool and be prepared to get hurt or die. Cooperate with the cops and sort it out with the judge later…. is that really so hard to do?

    Secondly but most importantly people don’t seem to be concerned that these kids are likely criminals who allegedly assaulted an innocent person. What if that victim was their kid? It doesn’t seem, to bother anyone the way they conduct themselves, the language they use, the n word…..that’s all ok in this video, and the most important thing is the plainclothes cop punching a suspected gang member?

    Finally, while one cop got out of hand, and he should be investigated, the rest of them conducted themselves very professionally (kudos to them) and were very patient with that annoying woman with the bike who was obviously clueless and started that 12 year old rumor thing. She should be arrested and charged for interfering with police work.

  3. While we should condemn police abuse, I fail to see much here. Every arrest has ten people w cell phones out these days crying abuse even when there Is none. Don’t hit kids with canes if you don’t want some tough love.

  4. These cops are fools to keep trying to take these hoodlums off the streets. In the current climate of sycophantic victim worship, the cop’s good deeds won’t go unpunished, so why bother? The cops should sit on their hands, collect their paychecks, and give the NY liberals like Sara Doneghy exactly what they deserve. Namely, a city full of hoodlums free to rampage and beat and rob helpless liberals as they please.

  5. “First you’ll notice, the guy with the red hood is physically big but is cooperating, and absolutely nothing happened to him. Cops are people too with families who want to go home at the end of the day. If you resist arrest you’re a complete fool and be prepared to get hurt or die. Cooperate with the cops and sort it out with the judge later…. is that really so hard to do?”
    Are you going for this line here, “cops who to go home to their families at the end of the day”?

    The guy was handcuffed.

    Oh wait, you mean cops want to go home EARLY.

    Ok. That totally justifies the punches in the gut; Tots’

  6. As someone justly put it under one article about this story, the cops had the suspect, he wasn’t going anywhere. He was completely surrounded. Running up and punching him, because he wasn’t being cooperative, or was perhaps being belligerent, is kind of antithetical to the whole premise of what professional law enforcement is supposed to represent.
    Why pay cops to act like criminals? Most of the times criminals do it for free!

  7. Wow, do you understand the fact that the cops are not supposed to beat people suspected to be criminals. Even when people are convicted of crime, it’s not up to the cops to deliver the punishment.
    But I guess for some, police brutality is A OK and people suspected of criminal behavior are fair game!

  8. The guy was not handcuffed, check again. He had his hands on the car.
    What justifies the punches in the gut is that the guy resisted arrest.

    Conveniently you ignored all my other points except to make “smart” remarks.

    The guys are thugs and you should be thankful to the cops that they got them. 16 years old with a gang assault rap sheet! Real winners!
    But you have no comment on that. Are you even concerned about the person they hit with a cane? How does he get justice, or is justice just for criminals?

  9. Cops should never beat anyone just because he is suspected of a crime. BUT If someone is resisting arrest the cops have to restrain them by any means necessary. What if the thug you’re supporting had a gun and got loose and started shooting people? You’d be here berating cops for their incompetence.
    The cops did not do anything at all to the suspect that cooperated.
    Try to see things objectively and not through your preconceptions filter

  10. Says who? you? I suggest you switch to decaf BTW.
    A resisting suspect has to be restrained no matter what it takes.
    Your comments are a good indicator that you have zero credibility. It would be ironic if those gang members attacked you one day and you had to call those you call Thugs to protect you.

  11. Wrong! The cops have discretion on how much force is necessary and review boards can second guess them later. Infliction of pain is an acceptable means to subdue an uncooperative suspect, especially when the suspected crime involves violence.
    That is how the real law works, not some wishful thinking you’re describing.

  12. Wrong! Pain is an acceptable use of force especially when a violent crime is suspected. There is no set rule for what constitutes excessive force.

  13. Exactly. Look how well non-proactive policing worked out for the liberal-policy paradises of Chicago, Detroit, Newark, etc… End Stop-and-Frisk and Broken Windows in NYC, and watch how fast that city follows the rest down the drain.

  14. False comparison. There are many safe cities where the police do not abuse their citizens. I live in one of them (one that is safer than NYC BTW). A police officer here would be fired immediately if he were spotted slugging a suspect who was in custody. Heck, an officer in the next city over got fired for *fantasizing* about doing so on Twitter.

    Yes, pain compliance is a valid technique. I was trained in numerous ways to use pain in order to gain compliance during my training. Slugging people who were already in custody was not one of them. It is ineffective by comparison with some of the techniques we were taught in training, there are nerves where merely squeezing will create agonizing pain and gain compliance in most cases, and there are other nerves where a slight rap with a baton will gain compliance rapidly, all with no chance of injury to the citizen or the officer. This NYPD goon is poorly trained and has anger issues, period, and should not be a police officer.

  15. Yea ok Jason Bourne, your training LOL. Xbox or Sony?

    I was right there and the uniformed cops didn’t have cuffs on the perp
    yet. As soon as the plainclothes cop punched him, the cuffs went on. I was 10 feet away and saw it. Whatever he did, worked. The priority is to secure the violent felon suspect and not whether they give him a bloody nose or waste him in the process.

  16. Two key words: 1) SUSPECT, and 2) CONSTITUTION. The Constitution does not allow police officers to be judge, jury, and executioner. Under the Constitution, police officers have one, and only one, duty: To detain people SUSPECTED of committing crimes and bringing them before a judge and jury. They are not allowed to punish people. They are not allowed to execute people except insofar as is necessary to prevent the death of themselves or another. The only people allowed by the Constitution to do that are courts. The Constitution really isn’t that long. You should read it some day.

    The course I took in restraining and transporting was at the local community college and most of the people in that course were future police officers. Taking that course was necessary for certification as a police officer in that state (Texas). Pain compliance was a portion of that course and did *not* involve punching people. Are you saying that Texas police officers are better trained than the NYPD? Or are you saying that the NYPD simply doesn’t care about their training anymore now that they’re on the street? My mentor as a newbie taught me some techniques that were dubious and probably illegal, but once I was on my own I ignored that and went back to what was taught and what was policy. That’s always an option, you know. Obeying the law, I mean.

    That was when I was a young man. I’m old now (have my AARP card and everything, sigh), and when I burned out I went into another career. But I still remember when I was young and full of piss and vinegar and was given the option to either do what was expedient, or do what was legal. That’s *always* a choice. Period.

  17. The key point you are missing, either due to oversight or deliberately is that the cops did absolutely nothing to the suspect that cooperated. If they did, what you say about the constitution would apply. The constitution is very vague and this is why we have a whole court attempting to interpret it.

    There are no set rules on excessive force so once you resist arrest, it is whatever the cops think necessary. Public safety and that of the cops is quite a bit more important than a resisting suspect’s well being. It’s quite simple actually.

  18. Actually, it’s what the court thinks necessary, via the “hypothetical reasonable person” test. But what you say is typical belief on the part of NYPD beat cops. That’s why New York City has paid out around $1 *BILLION* in lawsuit settlements to victims of the NYPD over the past decade — it’s because cops think they are the law, when actually they are errand boys for the courts, and inflict whatever force they feel like inflicting regardless of whether it passes the “hypothetical reasonable person” test or not.

  19. BTW, showed the video to an upstate NY police chief (now retired). He winced, and said “NYPD a-holes like that are what made my job a nightmare, every time the NYPD did something like that new laws got passed in Albany and I had to re-train my entire force.” He pointed out that punching people the way this cop did was dangerous for the cop as well, and he would have never allowed that on his force because of possible workman’s comp claims if the cop broke a bone in his hand. Pain compliance is indeed legit, but this isn’t the way to do it.

  20. It’s a big city and both the criminal element element and the demographics are very different from the sticks. So assuming your story is real, upstate does not even compare. Those farmer boys cops would not last a minute in NYC unless they changed their ways.
    The settlements are often due to accidents and some cops making mistakes. Like I said its a big city. The courts routinely refuse to prosecute or acquit excessive force cases because like I said its easy to second guess and criticize.if someone is resisting arrest I can care less about their well being.

  21. What kind of crazy society seeks to incapacitate it’s own police protection?

    The prevailing anti-police hate makes heroes out of street toughs with long rap sheets and prevents the NYPD, and police departments around the country, from doing their job to protect all of us. Many protesters seem to want anarchy, pure and simple.

    So tell me, who would you feel safer having patrol our streets – the NYPD or the guys who rob, assault, rape, and murder innocents?

  22. If the 3-4 cops surronding him couldn’t contain him they shouldn’t be cops- there was no need for the sneak attack by John McDevit. Period anyone who fail to see that is delusional

  23. Never seen so many police work experts. Everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess, even those without basic grammar knowledge.

  24. Surrounding* fails* – Since @dangler69 wants to critique my typos (a pitiful personal attack) – he will forever stay ignorant to the more serious issues at hand . #simpleminded #blacklivesmatter

    I never claimed to be a police expert. I just have 20/20 vision and an unbiased view of the world.

  25. So you’re some type of an activist. What makes you believe that you’re unbiased? People see the world the way *they* are so being unbiased is elusive at best… some can try to be less biased, but in the end its your background, your point of view, your paradigm. It appears from your hashtags that you have an agenda, so I don’t see how you can be objective. Original is out the door too since you’re parrotting others. The chip on the shoulder doesn’t help either. Perhaps you’re a Sharpton foot soldier? Don’t ALL lives matter, or just the black ones? Unbiased you’re not!

    You went down the personal attack path with your “delusional” comment. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. I prefer to stick to the issues myself. I never understood the whole racial implications here. In this incident the only suspects that got roughed up are the ones who chose to resist. I would have been just as fine with the way the cops handled it regardless of the race of the suspects. If it was my son and behaved like that he would deserve it. Does it bother you or not the way these guys talk to each other or the way they behave? Had you commented on the suspects’ conduct or concede that police work is hard I may have thought that you’re trying to be impartial. You are very selective for a self proclaimed unbiased guy!

  26. There’s no “agenda”.it’s a hashtag. Don’t feel threatened. In this incident the one being subdued by mulitiple police is sucker punched by the plain clothes. Had the the perp been white, I highly doubt this would have occurred. As this is a free sounding board I have a right to comment on what I feel was most glaring and offensive and while the language and behavior of the other guys is not what I approve of, I clearly understand it’s from a place of anger and frustration. And yes all lives matter but since some think theirs matter more I still continue to say LOUD AND PROUD #blacklivesmatter #stillsimpleminded

    And while I’m no activist, you do make me want to join Sharpton’s crusade and do more than go back and forth with you #actionsspeaklouderthanwords that’s when you should really feel threatened.

    Good night.

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