Remember that video of a cop using his nightstick to crack a subway fare-beater across the face? (If you don’t, it’s right here.) DNAinfo has an update.
Here’s what happened before NYPD officer Evans Mazile decided to pull out his baton, according to DNAinfo’s sources:
The incident began around 7:50 p.m. when [20-year-old Donovan Lawson] slipped through a turnstile “doubled up” with his 15-year-old girlfriend, who used her high school MetroCard, sources said. Mazile, a six-year veteran, was on patrol positioned behind a token booth watching for fare beaters. Authorities say he quickly approached the couple, and asked for identification.
The young girl, whose name was withheld, produced proper ID, but Lawson said he had none, sources said. Mazile told Lawson he would have to arrest him, but Lawson told him he was on parole for robbery and didn’t want to be arrested, sources said. Lawson’s girlfriend tried to coax him to “be calm,” sources said, but Mazile apparently became frustrated, and grabbed Donovan and ordered him to sit down.
He refused, sources said. That’s when Mazile allegedly became aggressive. “Witnesses said he apparently did not like the way he was being spoken to,” the law enforcement said. Mazile punched Lawson several times in the face and even tried to overwhelm him by spraying him in mace, but Lawson blocked it with his hands, sources said.
That’s about when someone in the station began recording the footage, which begins with Mazile swiping at Lawson with the nightstick and ends with the dazed and bleeding 20-year-old’s arrest. After the cellphone camera stopped rolling, both Mazile and Lawson were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Lawson wound up on Rikers Island. Meanwhile, DNAinfo reports that Mazile has spent the last three weeks on paid sick leave. Apparently, in the process of punching Lawson, the cop injured his own wrist. Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is now investigating the incident. “The question is whether [Lawson’s] resistance warranted a strike to the head or the officer’s actions [were] too much,” said a law enforcement source. As for hitting someone so hard that you leave yourself unable to work for nearly a month? It seems that that’s just business as usual.