After a recent news story about police fighting with a suspect in the subway, the topic of police brutality is at the forefront again. In this instance, according to the New York Post, a man was smoking in the subway when officers approached him, and he reacted in a way that led to aggressive actions on behalf of officers.
According to law enforcement in this situation, the excessive force used was necessary. They say it was a response to aggressive actions by the suspect, which included spitting and hitting. However, there is video proof of the altercation that shows none of those actions by the suspect and only the aggressive actions of law enforcement.
The crime at the heart of this incident was a valid reason for officers to approach the man. Smoking in the subway is illegal. Officers approached him to ask him to extinguish the cigarette.
What the man did next was aggressive, as he began to spit on the officers. This triggered the officers’ actions, which were to gang up on him and begin a fight that caused them all to fall down the stairs.
The original reason for the encounter was valid, but it did not make the actions after valid.
What the video reveals is the officers’ methods of attempting to detain the suspect. There were four officers involved. Three were trying to handcuff and restrain the suspect, which may have been typical protocol. The suspect was fighting back and trying to avoid letting the officers take him into custody.
However, the fourth officer’s actions are an example of excessive force. While the others tried to restrain the man, he was punching him in the face. At that point, the interaction went too far. This type of unwarranted violence is a violation of rights.