BRONX, NY — A Bronx prosecutor has deferred charges against a man caught on video putting a New York Police Department officer in a chokehold and injuring him while bystanders cheered. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark’s office has deferred prosecution, which means the attacker remains free as prosecutors continue to investigate the case and weigh whether charges are merited despite video evidence.
The cell phone video filmed by a bystander showed 29-year-old Wisnel Manzueta trying to interfere in an arrest that two NYPD officers were making on July 1 at Grand Concourse and Morris Avenue, the New York Daily News reported.
Feckless Bill de Blasio keeps tying up the hands of the NYPD, more and more.
I don’t know why somebody would still join the Academy under this leadership.
— Joel Fischer (@JFNYC1) July 12, 2020
Police said Manzueta was part of a mob who was trying to stop the arrest of 31-year-old Franklin Adrian, who was resisting arrest in handcuffs and refused to be placed in the back of a police car.
According to an NYPD spokesman, Adrian was parked illegally in front of a hydrant, and officers were trying to give him a parking ticket. He repeatedly refused to move his car, leading the officers to arrest him.
The video shows two police officers attempting to arrest and place Adrian in the police vehicle. A crowd gathers and starts shouting at the officers.
The man who filmed the encounter on his phone cursed at and taunted the officers, telling one:
“This n—– right here, he act gangster cause he got a badge and a gun.”
Seconds later, one of the officers in the video rushes at a man in the crowd — identified by police sources as Manzueta, who then grabs the officer, puts him in a headlock and drags him to the ground, according to the New York Daily News.
The man filming is heard yelling at the officer as the headlock suspect runs off:
“They smoked you, p—-! You just got smoked, p—-!”
The injured officer reportedly needed two staples to close the wound on his head, according to a police source.
Manzueta surrendered alongside his lawyer at the 46th Precinct stationhouse a week later, authorities say. Even though Manzueta was initially charged by police, with the Bronx District Attorney Office’s deferred prosecution, he remains free.
In response, Sgt. Jessica McRorie, an NYPD spokeswoman, said:
“The NYPD was disappointed that the individual was not charged initially. The violence against the police officer speaks for itself. We are now in discussions with the District Attorney regarding the case.”
The irony is that Manzueta is currently free, but police officers can now be arrested for placing a suspect in a chokehold under a new state law.
Last month, the New York City Council passed a bill that criminalizes chokeholds and other methods of restraint by police officers and sets up a string of police reform measures.
On June 9, Clark’s office released a statement regarding chokeholds and other restraining techniques:
“As we have seen recently with the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and six years ago right here in New York City with the death of Eric Garner, the use of chokeholds and other holds or restraining techniques that can cut off the supply of oxygen to a person’s brain have an unacceptably high risk of death. The NYPD has long recognized the danger of chokeholds and banned its use nearly three decades ago.
“We stand in support of proposed city and state legislation that would criminalize the use of chokeholds and similar restraints by law enforcement officers while making an arrest. We must take action against the use of excessive force by the police.
“Police officers risk their lives every day performing a dangerous job, and we are grateful for their service. We offer our support and respect for those who continue to uphold their sworn duty to serve and protect, doing so with NYPD’s core values of courtesy, professionalism and respect of the community.
“We also acknowledge the need for increased accountability. We support the efforts of the Council today to pass legislation to amend the administrative code to respect the right to record police activities, to require visible shield numbers and rank designations, and to establish procedures for an early intervention system with record-keeping and reporting requirements that will allow the police department to identify officers who may be in need of enhanced training or monitoring.
“We thank members of the City Council for pushing for the passage of these bills, and for their continuing commitment to keeping all New Yorkers safe.”
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, the NYPD’s largest union, said:
“Our city needs to wake up to the fact that our leaders have surrendered the streets to chaos. This was a near-riot situation where a cop is fighting for his life, and somehow his attacker was allowed to go free.”
Mayor Bill De Blasio responded to the video in a July 12 tweet:
We have a lot to do to heal the relationship between police and the community. That starts with standing together and advancing reforms, but it also means we cannot accept violence against our police officers. https://t.co/Q3h4xwBQOA
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 12, 2020
“We have a lot to do to heal the relationship between police and the community. That starts with standing together and advancing reforms, but it also means we cannot accept violence against our police officers.”
On July 16, De Blasio tweeted an updated video message regarding the attack on the police officer:
Peaceful protest has always been honored in our city. But there is no acceptable violent protest. pic.twitter.com/qqulnLw3wj
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 16, 2020
“There’s no situation in which it’s acceptable to attack a police officer, period. I talked to Terry Monahan after I heard that he was there. Thank God, he’s okay. No, it’s just not acceptable.
“And here’s what is the reality: Anyone who does that will suffer the consequences. So, we’ve said this now for months, I’ve said it very clearly: Peaceful protest is honored in New York City, always has been.
“There is no acceptable, violent protest. Any violent protest will be stopped and there will be consequences for anyone involved. And anyone, anywhere, whether in protest or anything else, who assaults a police officer, it’s unacceptable and they will suffer the consequences.”
Francisco Adrian, father of Franklin, claimed police roughed up his son:
“They broke his face and everything, hitting him for a ticket that they’d already given him. They threw him onto the floor. When I got there, they were already taking him to the police precinct, without a motive. They didn’t have to do that . . . They’d already given him the ticket.”
Francisco said his son is the father of five children and suggested he could have died like George Floyd:
“I want people to take notice of this. He couldn’t breathe, just like the black guy they killed the other day.”
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Author: Gloria Weg