NEW YORK CITY, NY — Surveillance video recorded the way a man was approached by NYPD, frisked for no reason, and then beaten by multiple officers.
The incident happened on August 18th, 2014 at about 6 p.m. While waiting for a friend, 23-year-old Santiago Hernandez stood in front of a building in the Melrose section of the Bronx. He and another individual were approached by officers who were allegedly investigating a noise complaint.
Video shows that officers immediately ordered Mr. Hernandez to stand up and put his arms out so that he could be “stopped and frisked.” Mr. Hernandez complied. The patdown produced no evidence, and it is unclear why a noise complaint would lead to a contraband search.
After being shaken down by police, Mr. Hernandez was allowed to sit back down on the stairs. ABC-7 News reported what happened next:
When the search came up empty, he says he asked the officers why he had been searched.
And with that, he says, one of the officers grabbed his arm and slapped on handcuffs.
“I’m like, ‘Miss what you doing? You are hurting my arm,’” Hernandez said.
The surveillance video is silent, but a cell phone video captured part of it.
“She just was telling me to put my hands behind my back, but ‘I’m like trying to understand what are you are arresting me for. Can you please tell me?’” Hernandez said.
Moments later, half-a-dozen officers arrived and appeared to pile-on. Hernandez said he was punched, kicked, beaten with nightsticks, and blasted with pepper spray.
“They was taking turns on me. One kicks me, he steps back. Another one comes to punch me and he steps back. And another one comes and grabs my arm and hits me like 10 times with the baton. Another one comes and pepper sprayed me, they were taking turns like a gang,” Hernandez said.
Mr. Hernandez was left with bruises all over his body. On top of being brutalized, he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
However, the transparent bullying was not supported by the Bronx district attorney’s office, which later declined to prosecute the case.
NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau was said to be investigating, but no officer involved has been publicly disciplined or criminally charged as of this date.
New Yorkers patiently await the promised reforms to the city’s infamous “stop & frisk” program. So far under Mayor Bill de Blasio, the baseless stops have only slowed in frequency, not ceased or substantively changed in procedure.