According to Gothamist, the video, a longer version of which the website obtained and posted to youtube, depicts two NYPD officers in Washington Heights beat two men with batons, as captured and posted first to Instagram by artist and YouTuber That Boy Lucky.
Gothamist reported that the arrest occurred Tuesday mid-afternoon in the upper Manhattan neighborhood at Broadway and 169th Street.
The video shows two men in the middle of the street and then the officers begin hitting one and then the other with nightsticks. They continue the assault on the two men they were apparently trying to arrest and appear to strike one of the men in the face. As the other tries to get away, he’s tackled, taken down to the street and then, a man described as a plainclothes cop jumps in and is seen kicking the man who is struck repeatedly and appears to then lie still.
Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York president Patrick J Lynch said, “Once again, we are seeing the consequences of lax policies that have allowed a lawless atmosphere to flourish in the subways, endangering both computers and the cops who respond to protect them,” Lynch’s statement posted to Twitter reads.
Lynch said that cops had been dealing with the two men underground when one is alleged to have thrown a punch at cops.
“Police officers had ejected the two individuals depicted in this video from the subway system due to complaints from transit riders. What the video doesn’t show is that these perps – one of whom has been previously arrested for assaulting a police officer – through a haymaker at the cops once they got above ground, necessitating the use of force to bring them into custody,” Lunch said.
The PBA president took the opportunity to lay blame at city officials for what he says is a “lawless” subway.
“The predictable rush to judgment based on a partial video but once again obscure the larger issue: the chaos that our cities leaders have decided to permit in the transit system is now bubbling up onto the streets.”
It’s reported that police first were called to a subway station near 169th Street because the two men, identified as Sydney A. Williams, 37, and Aaron S. Grissom, 36, were smoking in a stairwell. A Washington Heights resident told Gothamist the men are regulars at the corner where they can often be seen panhandling. It’s reported that when cops arrived and told the two to take off, they “mouthed off.” Note that in some reports, the men’s names are spelled incorrectly; for example, Griessom and Grisham in the case of Grissom. records obtained by Heavy show the correct spellings.
According to court records, Grissom was arrested on Dec. 5, 2018 misdemeanor harassment, possession, and harassment. He was released on his own recognizance and is due in court on those charges Feb. 5. The charges he’s facing following the Tuesday melee are assault, resisting arrest, and menacing, two felonies.
Court records show Williams was also arrested, with Grissom, on Dec. 5 and he too was charged with several misdemeanors and also was released. He’s now facing assault, resisting arrest, aggravated harassment, and menacing charges.
During a separate press conference at City Hall Wednesday, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio addressed the incident.
DeBlasio said that while it’s incumbent on a person being placed under arrest to comply, and that Williams and Grissom were “creating a real problem for residents,” but said that after viewing the video, he was concerned about the continued use of force once the suspect was on the ground and said the images he saw were “really troubling and we need to know a lot more.”
“If people are on the ground and yet there’s still physical action being taken, that concerns me. So I want to get some answers and I want to quickly hear from the NYPD on what their investigation yields.”