New cellphone video obtained by NY1 shows the altercation between two activists and police officers through the activists' eyes. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Joseph "Jazz" Hayden says it's all on cellphone video: police roughing him and another activist up Tuesday night on 57th Street.
One officer and Hayden argued over him videotaping police dealing with an emotionally disturbed man.
Hayden and the officer touching and pointing at each other was caught on at least two phones.
Hayden has a long history battling the NYPD. He sued former Governor George Pataki over the rights of the formerly incarcerated. His group All Things Harlem has been videotaping officers for years.
"We were exercising our constitutional right and our legal right to film the police," Hayden said. "And if the police are providing courtesy, professionalism and respect, they should be wanting us to film them."
The NYPD says the men disobeyed orders and obstructed police from their duties.
Five Mualimm-Ak, a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio's task force on behavioral health, was also arrested. He says police went way overboard.
Their lawyers argue that the NYPD still doesn't know how to handle people recording them.
"Because it takes away their power. It takes away their power to do things and not be held accountable," said defense attorney Robert Boyle.
"Despite the certain amount of training the department does have in terms of how to deal with observers and bystanders, observers and bystanders are arrested all the time," said defense attorney Gideon Oliver.
Meminger: Did you do anything illegal?
Mualimm-Ak: No, not at all. Actually, I'm trying to help them and work with and talk with them throughout the entire time.
Several other people there received violations from officers for not obeying orders.
The mayor's office would only say the administration is committed to increasing police transparency while ensuring officers can effectively perform their duties.
The two men are due back in court in April.
Mobile users: Click here to watch the entire cellphone recording.