An NYPD officer was indicted Wednesday for punching a man inside an Upper West Side Apple store without justification.
Officer Salvatore Provenzano pleaded not guilty to third-degree assault in Manhattan Supreme Court for the Oct. 19, 2021, incident. Prosecutors say the on-duty cop assaulted a man, who was not under arrest, as police escorted him out of the store on W. 67th St near Broadway for allegedly disturbing customers.
Provenzano allegedly smacked the man as he tried to wriggle out of his grip and walk toward the exit.
Provenzano “grabbed the individual, who was not under arrest, by the right arm to escort him out toward the exit. When the individual pulled out of [Provenzano’s] grasp and turned toward the exit, [Provenzano] struck the individual on the left side of his face, causing him substantial pain,” Assistant District Attorney Tavish Deatley said at the cop’s state Supreme Court arraignment, adding the incident was captured on video.
“The People take seriously any incident where a member of law enforcement uses force without justification — and that is simply what we have here. Having said that, this is an incident involving a single punch, minimal injury, and an officer with no known history of this type of conduct. The NYPD has already modified the officer and we anticipate he will be suspended.”
Prosecutors offered Provenzano, who’s been a cop since 2007, the chance to plead down to a harassment violation which would leave him with no criminal record or threat of jail time.
Outside the courthouse, Provenzano’s lawyer, Stuart London, said he had done nothing wrong.
“This police office, one of the more experienced ones we have, responds to the location to help the Apple store,” London said.
“All this officer did was attempt to escort him out of the location. As he puts his hand on his elbow to have him leave, he immediately flings his arm back, tenses his body, and this officer reasonably thought he was gonna be struck, and he hits him one time, and he goes down with no injury at all.”
The Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, many of whose members attended Wednesday’s hearing, decried the charges against Provenzano returned by a Manhattan grand jury.
“He’s not on our side; he’s on the side of the repeat offenders,” Hendry said. “They do not want us to do effective, proactive policing,” Hendry said.
In a statement, DA Bragg said the same laws apply to everyone.
“We work in close partnership with the NYPD every day to achieve the shared goal of lasting public safety,” Bragg said.
“Those sworn to uphold the law must be held accountable.”