A video of subway riders parting to either side of a subway car as NYPD officers aim a gun at a suspect sitting with his hands up has gone viral, with many saying it was a case of abuse of force.
The two-and-a-half-minute video shared Friday shows subway riders in Brooklyn running to either side of the car as an officer draws a gun on a suspect sitting on the subway. As passengers flee to the platform, a group of several officers descends on the man as two handcuff him and others stand on the platform.
Elad Nehorai, who posted the clip on Twitter, said that the suspect had shown no indication that he was going to flee or confront the officers.
NYPD officials identified the suspect as Adrian Napier, 19. Police said they received a call that Napier seemed to be brandishing a gun near Atlantic and Flatbush avenues. Napier boarded the southbound 4 train at the Pacific Street subway station as cops chased him. He hopped a turnstile and boarded the train without paying the fare. The arrest occurred when the train stopped at Franklin Avenue.
Napier did not have a gun on him at the time of his arrest.
However, law enforcement said Napier is a member of the Crips street gang and has been arrested 14 times on charges including assault, robbery and grand larceny.
In this arrest, Napier was charged with theft of services for not paying the $2.75 subway fare when he jumped the turnstile. He was also brought in and questioned because he was wanted in a case of larceny.
The NYPD has been upping its presence in subway stations and cracking down on subway fare evasion for several months. Twitter users pointed out how many officers and how much force was used to take down a man who was not resisting.
How many goddam cops does it take to arrest a man who isn't resisting? Why did he have to be manhandled? I thought there was a shortage of recruits in NYC. If you ask me, you got TOO many officers as it is if that many got nothing better to do than take down ONE PERSON. SMDH.
— Christy B I'm fine. It's fine. Everything's FINE. (@BirlingChristy) October 26, 2019
They also pointed out the risks of officers drawing a gun on someone while surrounded by innocent people. With the subway door closed at first, if Napier did have a gun, the police aiming at him could have escalated the situation and led him to hold a passenger hostage. Passengers also could have been hit with bullets if they shot.
Nehorai also said it appeared the passengers on the train were more afraid of the officers with guns than Napier.
That fact is included in my thread.
And as I mentioned, even aware that he might have a weapon, everyone on the train was terrified only of the police.
That’s because he was fully cooperating while they aimed guns at a crowded train, then tackled him.
— Elad Nehorai (@EladNehorai) October 27, 2019
The NYPD defended its decision saying that because a credible witness alerted them that Napier had a gun, their use of force was appropriate.
The NYPD said in a statement that Napier was arrested “without incident” for evading the fare and brought in because he was wanted for questioning for a past larceny. It does not mention clearly that Napier did not have a weapon on him.
Another video shared earlier this week showed an unrelated incident at a Brooklyn subway stop where cops punched teenagers while attempting to break up a fight.
— Yoli Ouiya (@yoliouiya) October 26, 2019
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called for the officer seen punching two teenagers to be placed on modified duty and for the department to conduct an immediate investigation into the incident. The NYPD determined that the officer who punched the teen will remain on duty during the investigation. He has called for all NYPD officers to wear body cameras.
Advocates and politicians including Sen. Julia Salazar and the organization Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) are calling for the NYPD’s use of force to be scrutinized. Adams also held a “Know Your Rights” session at Borough Hall on Tuesday to educate young community members on what to do when approached by police.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the hiring of 500 additional MTA officers to address “quality of life” issues like assaults and fare evasion on subways, but in the wake of this weekend’s incidents, activists are demanding more officers not be brought onto the force.