The officer in this video was just charged with assult of that woman. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...sault-n1228236
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer caught on video violently shoving a woman to the ground during a Brooklyn protest over George Floyd’s death was charged Tuesday with assault.
Officer Vincent D’Andraia, 28, was released on his own recognizance after a video arraignment and ordered to stay away from protester Dounya Zayer, who was hospitalized after hitting her head on the pavement in the May 29 altercation. She said she suffered a concussion and a seizure.
D’Andraia is also charged with criminal mischief, harassment and menacing. His lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf. D’Andraia did not say anything as he appeared on video from behind bars in a suit and protective face mask because of the coronavirus pandemic. He is due back in court in October.
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement announcing the charges that he “cannot tolerate the use of excessive force” against anyone exercising their constitutional right to protest, adding he was “deeply troubled by this unnecessary assault.”
The Police Department suspended D’Andraia last week without pay. The officer, who had been assigned to Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct, was also stripped of his weapons at that time, his lawyer, Stephen Worth said.
D’Andraia is the first New York City police officer to face criminal charges stemming from alleged misconduct exhibited during the days of unrest that have roiled the city in the wake of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and police brutality against people of color.
A police officer was suspended without pay last week for pulling down a protester’s face mask and pepper spraying him in a separate incident a day after D’Andraia’s shove. Another officer was placed on modified duty Tuesday for alleging opening the door of an unmarked police car into a protester, Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
The state’s attorney general and the city’s police watchdog agency are investigating the police response to the protests.
The head of D’Andraia’s union, the Police Benevolent Association, said the mayor and police leaders were “sacrificing cops to save their own skin” by sending officers out to protests with “no support and no clear plan.”
“They should be the ones facing this mob-rule justice,” union president Pat Lynch said in a statement. “We will say it again: New York City police officers have been abandoned by our leadership. We are utterly alone in our efforts to protect our city.”
Bystander video of D’Andraia pushing the woman was viewed millions of times on Twitter and generated outrage among protesters and elected officials. The altercation underscored the concerns about police misconduct that prompted demonstrations around the country following Floyd’s May 25 death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries called for D’Andraia’s firing and praised the reassignment of his commanding officer, who witnessed the shoving and did not intervene.
“Violent police officers who brutalize civilians must be held accountable for their behavior,” Jeffries, a Democrat, said in a statement. “It’s my hope this is the beginning of transformational change in the largest police department in the nation.”
Zayer, 20, called D’Andraia a coward and suggested the assault would only deepen mistrust of law enforcement.
“I was protesting for a reason,” Zayer said in a video tweeted from her hospital bed. The officer, she added, “should have had the self restraint to not hurt the people he’s supposed to be protecting.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised all allegations of police misconduct would be investigated. But he also has played down accounts of police violence amid the unrest, telling reporters he personally had seen “no use of force around peaceful protests.”
He credited officers with using “lots of restraint.”