A New York City police officer has been charged with misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing after being recorded on video shoving a 20-year-old woman to the ground and cursing at her during a protest against police brutality in Brooklyn on May 29.
Officer Vincent D’Andraia surrendered to authorities at the 84th Precinct station house on Tuesday.
Cellphone video, which quickly went viral, showed the officer “violently” shoving the victim, Dounya Zayer, 20, to the ground and calling her a “bitch” after she asked him why he told her to get off the street.
Officer Vincent D’Andraia then walks off, with a police supervisor directly behind him.
Zayer said she was treated for a seizure and a concussion at a hospital following the incident.
“I am in pain. My head hurts. I haven’t slept in three days. And I cannot stop throwing up,” Zayer said last week.
According to the New York Times, Officer D’Andraia, who has been suspended without pay, is the first NYPD officer to face arrest over his conduct during the widespread protests that have continued for 12 straight days since the death of George Floyd.
Political pressure, both in New York and nationwide, to hold officers accountable for perceived misconduct has been ratcheted up in recent days.
On Sunday, the Minneapolis City Council voted to disband its police department and invest in community-based public safety programs following calls from activists to “defund the police,” in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Although D’Andraia is the first NYPD officer arrested due to conduct during recent protests, investigators with the NYPD have reportedly recommended misconduct charges against three other officers following a May 2 incident in the East Village, where an officer sat and knelt on the neck and upper torso of a man he was arresting. Another cop has also been suspended after he was allegedly seen on video pulling down the face mask of a man, then spraying pepper spray directly into that civilian’s face. On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged for the first time to cut the city’s police funding.
“We’re committed to seeing a shift of funding to youth services, to social services, that will happen literally in the course of the next three weeks, but I’m not going to go into detail because it is subject to negotiation and we want to figure out what makes sense,” Mayor de Blasio said Sunday.
The Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents NYPD officers, called the charges against D’Andraia the result of “mob-rule” justice, according to NBC reporter Jonathan Dienst. “Once again, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD brass are sacrificing cops to save their own skin,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said. “They created the failed strategy for managing these demonstrations. They sent police officers out to do the job with no support and no clear plan.