As if things couldn’t get any worse for the New York City Police Department this week after a failed Twitter campaign resulted in thousands of photos showing violent encounters with NYPD officers being posted online, the department agreed to pay $55,000 Wednesday to a videographer they attacked and arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests.
But that was then, this is now, insisted William Bratton, who took the helms of the department as commissioner in December 2013, ensuring this week that the NYPD has turned over a new leaf from it’s overly aggressive style for which they are renowned.
“I kind of welcome the attention,” Bratton said Wednesday as the negative tweets kept coming nearly 24 hours after cops invited the cyber-submissions. “We really broke the numbers yesterday.”
In all, more than 110,000 members of the Twitterverse responded — most in nasty fashion — after the NYPD made its proposal at 1:55 p.m. on Tuesday.
The cops innocuously asked people to post pictures of themselves interacting with New York’s Finest using the hashtag #myNYPD.
But instead of happy pictures of cops posing with tourists or helping old folks cross the street, Twitter erupted with hundreds of photos of police violence.
Featured were shots of Occupy Wall Street arrests and the 84-year-old bloodied for jaywalking on the Upper West Side earlier this year.
“Most of the pictures I looked at, they’re old news,” Bratton said, tossing previous NYPD administrations under the patrol car. “They’ve been out there for a long time.”
And in the midst of the Twitter backlash came the announcement that they will dish out $55,000 to Josh Boss, an Occupy Wall Street live streamer, who was violently arrested December 17, 2011 in an incident caught in the above video.
“Hi! How are you?!” Chief Purtell shouts at Boss shortly after flinging him to the ground. “Get the cameras!”
Boss asks to stand up on his own so the two sets of flex cuffs on his hands aren’t tightened any further, but his plea is ignored. Officers pick him up by the handcuffs, cutting off the circulation to his hands. Audio on Boss’ camera catches an NYPD officer in the paddy wagontelling a fellow officer that he is changing Boss’ cuffs because “his hands are turning blue.”
Boss was charged with disorderly conduct, but the charges were later dropped. He sued for false arrest and excessive force, claiming that the incident gave him nerve damage.
“For a senior commanding officer of the NYPD to target videographers and use excessive force like this, in front of so many subordinate officers and citizens, sets a terrible example,” Boss’ attorney, Wylie Stecklow, of Stecklow Cohen & Thompson says in a release.
The NYPD has already dished out almost $300,000 to Occupy Wall Street protesters they unlawfully arrested and more suits are pending, so it’s going to be a while before we let the past stay in the past.
Also, there is still Shawn Randall Thomas’ case stemming from his February arrest for video recording cops in a subway, which they still haven’t dropped, even though it is very clear that officer Efrain Rojas walked up to him and assaulted him, only to later claim that Thomas had walked up to him and interfered with his investigation.
Rojas also deleted the footage, thinking Thomas would be unable to recover it, but he was wrong.
And let’s not forget this incident that took place less than a week later where they arrested a man for video recording them.
Thomas’ trial is scheduled for May 5, which shows that Bratton is only bluffing when he says the department is turning over a new leaf.