A video of a police officer from the 121st Precinct pointing a firearm at the young man filming has gone viral and calls into question when it is appropriate for officers to pull out their guns. NY1’s Lindsay Tuchman filed the following report.
Cellphone video from Staten Island shows a plainclothes NYPD officer pointing his gun at the young man holding the phone and ordering him to lie down.
The encounter occurred Saturday near Decker and Orange avenues in Port Richmond.
Police said someone had called 911 reporting a large fight involving several males with baseball bats.
The video was shot by 22-year-old Curtis Jackson. He said he was just walking home from a game of baseball with some friends, arguing about the score, when a car drove up.
"Two men in suits hopped out their car, and with that being said, they just had their guns out on us," he said. "So when the man told me to get on the floor, he didn't identify himself as a police officer, so I told him I wasn't getting on the floor."
Police acknowledged the incident, saying only the group was dispersed and no arrests were made.
Jackson said the confrontation unnerved him.
"It was scary, you know, like, even now, I don't feel safe around police officers, whether they're the same color as me or not," he said.
Jackson's cousin, Maleek Simmons, appears briefly in the video.
"I just feel like it was way over the top," he said.
Simmons posted the video on Facebook, where it was viewed more than 140,000 times and shared by more than 2,000 people as of Wednesday night.
Many commenters saw the confrontation in racial terms.
"I fear the cops more than I do a dude in a hoodie," one woman wrote. "Cops been beating blacks an [sic] other minorities for decades."
Mike Reilly is a retired NYPD lieutenant. After watching the video, he said protocol was followed.
"When an officer feels that there's a chance of serious physical injury or someone being injured involved with an incident with a weapon, it's not uncommon for them to unholster their weapon," he said.
The NYPD did not respond when we asked if was appropriate for the officer to draw his gun. Also, according to police, they are not investigating the incident any further.