Manhunt underway after NYPD officer attacked by group in suspected targeted incident

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – The investigation into an off-duty NYPD officer that was attacked by group of men earlier in June has brought an intriguing development, with police believing that the group assault wasn’t random. 

According to officials, the off-duty officer that was attacked knew at least one of the attackers captured on surveillance video. 

On June 21st, a 33-year-old off-duty NYPD officer – who at the time was in plain clothes – was attacked by a group of men, with one of the assailants having used what investigators believe to have been possibly a broomstick to attack the officer. 

The incident occurred at approximately 11:40 a.m. at Bryant and Lafayette Avenues. 

A witness said that the off-duty officer had gotten into some sort of a verbal altercation with the group before the attack was launched: 

“He was just arguing with the person, talking and they started getting louder and louder.”

The witness, at the time of the assault, was oblivious to the fact that the victim was an off-duty officer due to his attire. 

As seen in the video, which has some jump cuts, the off-duty officer is seen standing outside of a bodega where a  group of men begin to surround him. The officer is shoved, and then the video cuts to instances where the officer is attacked with what appeared to be a broomstick.

Police say that the group involved in the incident consisted of approximately six men, however, surveillance video from the incident only depicts three assailants attacking the victim.

Officials say that the officer was transported over to Jacobi Medical Center, and was last noted as being conscious and alert.

Reportedly, the off-duty officer was familiar with at least one of the attackers, according to police officials, but the nature of that familiarity wasn’t expanded upon beyond that. 

However, whatever familiarity exists between the off-duty officer and one of the attackers caught on camera has attracted the attention of NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, which he’s having Internal Affairs assist with the investigation to ensure there isn’t any underlying matter that influenced this incident that’s police-related: 

“It’s very much under investigation by the detective squad from the 41st precinct, and I’m also having the Internal Affairs Bureau looking at the entire incident to make sure there was nothing that shouldn’t be happening there with our officers.”

Officials have not released the name of the officer injured during the incident, nor have any arrests been made as of this writing. 

Anyone with information about the incident or at-large suspects are urged to to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

Those with information on the case can also submit tips to the Crime Stoppers website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. As always, tipsters can choose to remain anonymous when submitting tips.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further details regarding this developing case. 

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Earlier in June, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on an incident coming out of Florida where an officer was attacked by a mob of people when responding to a 911 call of shots fired. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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JACKSONVILLE, FL– Riots are picking up again across the country as the weather is warming, and officers again have become the enemy to those taking to the streets. 

A police officer in Jacksonville, Florida was attempting to respond to a 911 call when he was attacked by an angry mob on Thursday, June 3rd. 

The incident, which was caught on video and posted by a person on Twitter with the name of Duval Promo, shows the officer entering a crowd of people after a report of shots fired. 

A video posted by Duval Promo shows an officer entering a crowd of people and getting thrown to the ground as fights broke out. The officer reportedly did not know if people were in danger, or if there was an active shooter, so he chose not to wait and ran straight into danger. 

The video shows several people, two of whom appear to be female, attacking the officer while he was on the ground for a short time before the officer was able to get up and regain his footing. 

The officer, who clearly has a rifle strapped to his back, chose never to draw a weapon, despite the fact that he was being attacked while trying to do his job.

On Saturday, June 5th, Steve Zona, the President of the police union in Jacksonville, said on Twitter that officers were responding to a report of gunshots

Zona wrote on Twitter:

“When gunshots ring out, our officers will not wait to respond and eliminate the threat.”

The tweet went on to say:

“This officer ran towards danger, alone, to make sure some of the very people who attacked him would be safe,” 

Zona continued on, saying:

“It’s sad no one from this crowd chose to help our officer but we don’t believe that’s a true representation of our community. We know you have our backs and we will continue to run towards danger to keep you safe.”

At least one arrest was made in the attack, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told CBS47

Huge win for police: NY Supreme Court throws out NYC chokehold law, rules it “unconstitutional”

NEW YORK, NY- In a ruling for common sense, the rule of law and a win for the good guys, a New York Supreme Court Justice on Tuesday ruled New York City’s anti-chokehold law—otherwise known as the “diaphragm law”—unconstitutional, according to court documents reviewed by the New York Post.

Supreme Court Justice Laurence Love issued the ruling, the latest development in a near year-long legal battle that was initiated by a coalition of 18 police unions.

The unions challenged a section of the new measure that prohibits maneuvers that would press a suspect’s diaphragm.

Love agreed with the unions, finding that they had “demonstrated that Section 10-181 is unconstitutionally vague as the phrase ‘compresses the diaphragm’ cannot be adequately defined as written.”

“It is this Court’s sincere hope that the New York City Council will revisit the issue to address this vital matter,” he continued.

A spokesman for the New York City law department said that the city was “reviewing its legal options.”

The measure was passed by the city council and signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio last July and would allow prosecutors to file misdemeanor charges against officers if they used the technique during an arrest that restricted the person’s breathing “in any way.”

Police unions argued the law “criminalize[d] the lawful use of force” and presented a safety issue not only to officers but to the public as well.

The bill was among a number of kneejerk bills passed by cities across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died when a combination of fentanyl and methamphetamine intoxication mixed with a heart condition and positional asphyxia led to his death. Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second- and third-degree murder in his death.

At the time the bill was signed into law, former NYPD Chief of Department Terrence Monahan slammed the law, calling the “diaphragm” part of the bill dangerous.

The New York Post reported Monahan told WPIX-11 that he didn’t necessarily have a problem with the bill making it a criminal offense to use chokeholds, however took issue with the portion of the bill addressing diaphragms.

“The idea of the diaphragm bill—and I call it a diaphragm bill—because we have no objection to the chokehold portion of it, but any cop who’s ever fought with someone on the street, trying to get him into cuffs, there’s a great possibility that your knee is going to end up on that individual’s back, and now this new law is criminalizing it,” Monahan said.

“We try to avoid that, but in the midst of a fight, it’s pretty hard to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he continued.

“When you have to worry that someone who may have taken a shot at you that you are now arresting, if your knee hits their back, you become the criminal.”

The New York City ban also sparked outrage from nearby police departments, who told their cops not to arrest anyone inside New York City.

In addition, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., who apparently took time off from his witch hunt against then-President Trump raised concerns as well, saying he didn’t believe the law would hold up in court.

In a Facebook post, the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association applauded the court’s decision to quash the law, noting that it sought to criminalize “sitting, kneeling or standing” on a suspect in a manner that “compresses the diaphragm.”

 

The union claimed the law was “a cheap shot effort to score political points with the anti-police movement,” and slammed de Blasio for signing the measure into law “almost immediately.”

They said that along with a contingent of other police unions affiliated with the NYPD, as well as the New York State Police, they decided to challenge the law, which led to today’s successful result.

“I am glad to report that today, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional.

“This is an important victory for law enforcement and for the SBA. Not only does this decision eliminate the possibility you could face criminal prosecution for unintentionally kneeling, sitting, or standing on someone’s torso while making an arrest, it sends a clear message to the City Council and the Mayor that their anti-police policies will be challenged and defeated.”

The included letter was signed by Sgt. Ed Mullins, president of the SBA.

In a year where police officers and their respective agencies have been taking one negative hit after another, it’s good to see a win for the good guys. Kudos to the NYPD’s respective unions for fighting back against this draconian law.

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Meanwhile, we reported a while back about another Trump-chasing political hack, New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed suit against the NYPD for alleged excessive force against rioting thugs who terrorized the city last year. 

For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

 

NEW YORK CITY, NY – New York State Attorney General Letitia James has filed suit against the New York City Police Department (NYPD), alleging officers used excessive force and made false arrests against protesters last summer following the death of George Floyd.

Black Lives Matter and activists held large protests, often turning violent, across the country last year following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.

The protests grew larger and more violent after other documented deaths of black persons by police, including the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 69-page complaint filed in Southern District of New York federal court claims the NYPD the response to the protesters was part of a longstanding pattern of abuse. James announced the suit during a press conference today. Commenting on the investigation, she said:

“When we found was an egregious abuse of police power, ramped excessive use of force, and leadership unable and unwilling to stop it.”

The civil suit also named Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Dermot Shea, and Police Chief Terence Monhan as defendants.

The complaint claims that the defendants violated the First Amendment rights of protesters. James, who called the protests “mostly peaceful,” said:

“In our lawsuit, we outlined years of the NYPD’s illegal and harmful conduct against New Yorkers, most recently at protests that began this past May which has led to significant injuries and violated people’s basic rights to peacefully protest.”

https://twitter.com/Sirianwolf/status/1349703202313285632

James claimed that the police continued to violate people’s rights and used excessive force against protesters from May until December:

“NYPD officers engaged in blatant use of excessive force, and often misconduct, including the indiscriminate, unjustified, and repeated use of batons, pepper spray, bicycles, and a crowd-control tactic known as ‘kettling’ which caused significant physical harm.”

Kettling is a police maneuver where police confine a group of demonstrators in a small area as a method of crowd control. This type of force, some experts claim, causes tensions to rise and should not be used.

James said the NYPD also illegally detained observers, medics, and other essential workers in direct violation of a memo issued by Mayor de Blasio.

The Attorney General stated:

“We are seeking systemic reforms to the NYPD and the installation of a monitor to oversee the NYPD’s policing tactics in future protests and to ensure they are complying with the law. With today’s lawsuit, this longstanding pattern of brutal and illegal force ends.”

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James was instructed to investigate the city’s handling of the protests in June by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo said he was concerned about “disturbing violent clashes” between NYPD officers and protesters.

The suit asks for a court order “declaring that the policies and practices that the NYPD used during these protests were unlawful.” The Attorney General is also asking for policy reforms and a monitor to oversee the NYPD.

The lawsuit claims Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Shay, and Chief Monahan failed to stop the pattern of abuse and false arrests by officers and allowed officers to violate protesters’ rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

https://twitter.com/OleMurica/status/1283876427251830784

The Police Benevolent Association issued a statement on its Twitter account shortly after the press conference. PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said:

“We will say it again: What we witnessed in June was a failure of New York City’s leadership. They sent cops out to police unprecedented protests and violent riots with no plan, no strategy, and no support.

“They should be forced to answer for the resulting chaos, instead of pointing fingers at cops on the streets and ignoring the criminals who attacked us with bricks and firebombs.”

The NYPD also issued a statement reacting to the lawsuit:

“The New York City Police Department welcomes reform and has embraced the recent suggestions by both the city’s Department of Investigation and the city’s Law Department.

“As the Mayor has said, adding another layer does not speed up the process of continued reform, which we have embraced and led the way on.”

Mayor de Blasio said that he supports major reforms within the NYPD, but does not support the lawsuit or the installation of a  federal monitor:

“A court process and the added bureaucracy of a federal monitor will not speed up this work. There is no time to waste and we will continue to press forward”

In June, both Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Shea defended the NYPD’s response to protests. They called the officers’ actions proportional, and that a small number of misconduct incidents were being investigated. Both officials pointed to looting, widespread property damage, and attacks on police by protesters.

In October, the city was sued by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society on behalf of protesters claiming they were assaulted by police.

The New York City Inspector General issued a report in December stating that officers resorted to aggressive tactics after being caught off guard by the size of the protests. The report was completed after 2,000 people were arrested in demonstrations in New York City from May to June.

Commissioner for the Department of Investigations Margaret Garnett said “the (police) response really was a failure on many levels.”

Following the Inspector General’s release of their findings, Mayor de Blasio stopped supporting the police response. He said:

“I look back with remorse. I wish I had done better. I want everyone to understand that. And I’m sorry I didn’t do better.”

Communities United for Police Reform praised the lawsuit. Spokesman Walter Winston Griffith said:

“NYPD violence against protesters is a long-standing problem and it’s a credit to Attorney General James that she’s using the power of her office to challenge the systemic lack of accountability for this violence.”

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