An officer in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) was caught on video delivering hammer fist strikes to a 14-year-old girl, hitting her in the head as he intervened in an after school fight. The officer has since been suspended without pay, pending an investigation.
On Tuesday, New York Times Magazine contributing writer Jody Rosen shared a video of the altercation, which the writer said he originally saw shared on an Instagram account.
The video showed multiple officers grabbing at an individual before one of the officers began bringing his fist down repeatedly over the back of that individuals head. Other people in the crowd appeared to join in the scuffle and some individuals appeared to be trying to get between the officer and the individual he was striking.
On Wednesday, an NYPD Twitter account announced, “Last evening, the NYPD became aware of an incident that occurred on Staten Island where officers responded to a fight between a group of youths. The actions of those officers is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau. At this time, one officer has been suspended.”
The NYPD tweet did not directly specify if the altercation it was describing was the same as the one captured in the video footage. In a Wednesday press conference New York City Mayor Eric Adams did address the video of the officer using hammer fist strikes against a teenaged individual.
“I was not pleased with what I saw,” Adams said during the press conference. He said he spoke with NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell about the incident and said she suspended the officer shortly thereafter.
Adams said the officer’s actions were in response to an altercation where a young girl was being attacked by two other children near school grounds. Adams said an internal investigation will look at the officer’s body camera footage as well as the video that was posted on Instagram.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Julian Phillips told the New York Times that NYPD officers had intervened to stop the after-school fight, but as one of the officers tried to arrest one of the individuals involved, a 14-year-old girl who was part of the altercation grabbed at the officer’s handcuffs and struck him in the head.
The 14-year-old girl, Kyonna Robinson, came forward to speak to the New York Post about the altercation. Robinson said she had jumped into the brawl, which had initially involved her sister.
“Then everyone was just in handcuffs and my sister [was] in handcuffs,” Robinson told the New York Post. “And I went up to my sister and asked the cops, ‘What are you doing?’ and he pushed me and then I hit him two times and then he hit me 11 times.”
A police source told the New York Post that the 14-year-old hit the police officer first, but said the amount of force the officer used was extreme.
The NYPD has not officially identified the suspended officer, but the New York Times described him as a 14-year Police Department veteran assigned to the 121st Precinct on Staten Island. The New York Post said sources identified one of the officer’s in the altercation as Nicholas Scalzo.