STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Video has surfaced of the NYPD response to a wild melee involving girls at a bus stop in Port Richmond in an incident that has led to the suspension of one officer and calls from numerous city officials for an investigation.
The footage, which is circulating on both Instagram and Twitter, shows the chaotic scene that unfolded on Tuesday around 2:50 p.m. in the 121st Precinct near a bus stop where Port Richmond Avenue, Forest Avenue and Willowbrook Road meet at the Egbert Triangle green space.
As reviewed by the Advance/SILive.com, the video appears to show at least three officers surrounded by a group of agitated children across the street from a pawn shop and check-cashing business.
In the footage, an officer appears to punch one of the children multiple times.
“He’s hitting her,” one child screams, while another youngster loudly says, “Don’t do that.”
Some of the children appear to be trying to shield and pull the child away from the officer while other youngsters seem to be joining in the fray.
At least two additional cops seem to be trying to separate the officer and the child while attempting to control the crowd.
The video is shot at a distance with the officers’ sides and backs mostly to the camera.
Lasting several seconds, the footage doesn’t show what happened before or after the incident escalated into a physical confrontation.
MAYOR ADAMS ADDRESSES CONFRONTATION
Mayor Eric Adams defended the NYPD while simultaneously voicing his displeasure with the footage.
“I was not happy with what I saw in the video,” the mayor said, adding that he spoke with Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Schools Chancellor David Banks.
The mayor stressed that the skirmish, which happened around dismissal time, did not take place on school property.
“A young girl was being jumped by two other children and the police intervened — it was NYPD not School Safety agents,” the mayor clarified.
A source with knowledge of the investigation said that one of the children threw the first punch after police were trying to aid a child who was being attacked on the street.
“The people of this city trust their police,” Adams said. “They’re happy to see their police.”
The mayor added, “We should be proud having a police department with the level of restraint that they show.”
STATEN ISLAND POLITICIAN EXPRESSES CONCERNS
“Yesterday, an incident occurred at the dismissal of I.S. 51 middle school, where a student was seen involved in an altercation with an NYPD officer,” said a statement from Councilwoman Kamilla Hanks (D-North Shore) first posted on social media.
“I would like to thank the concerned community member who sent me the video of this incident. I immediately contacted the NYPD to request an investigation. I am encouraged by the NYPD’s swift and appropriate response to this matter. Let me be clear — violence against our children is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I appreciate the community’s patience while the NYPD conducts its investigation.”
“The police officers involved are entitled to due process, not summary judgment based on a few seconds of video,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. “What is clear at this point is that these police officers were trying to break up a violent altercation when they themselves were assaulted. What is needed now is a thorough investigation of the entire circumstances, not just what has been posted online.”
The bus stop is frequented by students from schools in the area and is “a known trouble spot,” a source with knowledge of the investigation told the Advance/SILive.com.
The incident escalated when two sisters, ages 12 and 14, allegedly assaulted a 14-year-old girl, the source said.
Officers from a fixed post in the vicinity intervened in an attempt to stop the fight.
One of the girl suspects allegedly punched an officer in the face and both of the girls who were suspects allegedly resisted arrest, according to the source.
The 12- and 14-year-old suspects were apprehended. The 14-year-old girl was charged with assault and resisting arrest and the 12-year-old girl received a juvenile report alleging assault, according to the police spokesman.
The NYPD does not release the names of minors accused of crimes.
Police also are not releasing the name of the officer who was suspended from duty.
A police spokesman was unable to provide any information about injuries or hospital transport for anyone involved in the incident.
“If you see the video, they’re going crazy, these kids,” said the source, adding that police are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” when it comes to intervening in fights involving youths.