It’s been over two weeks since Eric Garner’s death from an illegal, cop-administered chokehold, and the images of other brutal NYPD arrests just keep coming out. The latest video, obtained by the New York Daily News, shows around a dozen officers yanking a nearly naked woman out of her home before taking her and several of her family members into custody.
The incident took place in a Brownsville building on July 13. According to the Daily News, the cops had been called to the address to respond to a domestic disturbance, but they hadn’t been given an apartment number. They knocked on the door of an apartment where they heard shouting and 48-year-old Denise Stewart — who, having just gotten out of the shower, was wearing nothing but a towel and underpants — answered. After Stewart told the officers that they had the wrong place and tried to shut the door, they dragged her into the hallway, causing her to lose her towel and setting off a chaotic, upsetting scene.
Stewart, who has asthma, can be seen standing in the hallway crying, "Oxygen, get my oxygen," while surrounded by uniformed men. (Neighbors can also be heard shouting about Stewart’s illness, and one can be heard asking why a female officer isn’t tending to an almost-nude woman.) Eventually, the mother of four passes out and falls on the floor, where she remains while the NYPD hauls her 20-year-old daughter, Diamond, and 24-year-old son, Kirkland, out of the apartment. Eventually, a cop places a towel over Stewart.
The NYPD claims that Stewart’s 12-year-old daughter was removed from the apartment after officers noticed "visible injuries to her face." The girl ended up kicking in the door of a police car, and the resulting broken glass cut the chin of one of the cops. She has now been charged with "assaulting a police officer, criminal mischief and criminal possession of a weapon," according to the Daily News. Kirkland was charged with resisting arrest, as were Denise and Diamond, who have also been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and "acting in manner injurious to a child." The family’s lawyer, Amy Rameau, told the Daily News that "there were no injuries to the child as alleged in the complaint," and that the Administration for Children’s Services found no evidence of neglect.
Regardless of what was going on in the apartment before the cops arrived, the disturbing video won’t do anything to help the image of the increasingly embattled NYPD. "It’s disgusting and embarrassing," Stewart told the Daily News. "I didn’t do nothing wrong." The incident is now under investigation by Internal Affairs. In the meantime, New York City’s police force might want to start behaving like people who are being watched.
Read more posts by Caroline Bankoff