Last week, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton vowed to “aggressively seek to get those out of the department who should not be here,” officers “so callous, so brutal, so corrupt that they feel comfortable engaging in those acts of brutality, acts of corruption without fear.” In the days since, the videos of police misconduct just keep coming.
The latest is not just shocking for the physical brutality some have come to expect, but for the bald corruption with no apparent regard for consequences — although there’s also brutality. While being filmed during a stop-and-frisk near a basketball court in Coney Island last month, an officer can be seen reaching into a man named Lamard Joye’s pocket and taking what Joye claims was $1,300. Then the cop starts pepper-spraying.
It was Joye’s 35th birthday, and he’d withdrawn the cash — earned from his construction job — to take his wife out for the night, according to his lawyer.
“Give me my money, man! Give me my money,” says Joye in the clip, the stack of bills clearly visible in the officer’s hand. In response, he gets sprayed in the face.
“That’s robbery,” says a bystander. “How you gonna take his money?” When Joye’s sister approaches the officer to get his name and badge number, she, too, is pepper-sprayed in the face.
An NYPD spokesperson told the Daily News, “The incident was precipitated by a call of a man with a gun.” (No one was arrested.) “When officers arrived at the scene, they encountered numerous people at the location. As a result of the allegations, the matter is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau and Civilian Complaint Review Board.” The Brooklyn D.A. said, “We are aware of the alleged incident and it is being actively and thoroughly investigated.”
“I believe that this officer made an assumption that any money Mr. Joye possessed was obtained illegally and therefore he would not report the theft,” Robert Marinelli, Joye’s lawyer, told the New York Times. “This assumption was wrong. Mr. Joye is a hardworking taxpayer. An incident like this would never occur in a more affluent section of the city.”