Stun gun used on man after he threatened officers, police say about viral video
Police body camera video released yesterday showing an officer using a stun gun on a man after a fare evasion incident is going viral on social media, with many criticizing the officers involved for what they say is an excessive use of force.
The footage, released by the New York City Police Department on Twitter, shows a man cursing at officers and refusing to exit a train on July 6 at the W. 116th Street and Lenox Avenue station.
Police say that the man, identified as David Crowell, 29, opened an exit gate for an acquaintance to enter the subway, allowing him to evade the fare.
Crowell threatened officers, allegedly going into a fighting stance and saying, “I’m going to rush you. F—k the police,” according to a criminal complaint.
He refused to comply with police and resisted arrest, which prompted the use of the stun gun, police say. Crowell was then taken into custody and faces charging including resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct, and harassment.
Congressman Jamaal Bowman shared video of the incident on Twitter, writing, “You can tell a lot about a country by who, and what, it criminalizes. While the rich dodge hundreds of BILLIONS of taxes per year, we have a whole gang of cops going this hard over alleged fare evasion.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, asked about the video during a press conference on Thursday, says he has not seen the video, but had it described to him, and while he understands that the man was being aggressive and even threatening toward police, that the officers were also in the wrong.
“… We’re very clear in the training for our officers. The goal is to deescalate,” the mayor says. “Clearly here we did not end up with a deescalated situation.”
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch took to Twitter to defend the officers in the video.
“On a daily basis, police officers are subjected to vile abuse by criminals who believe the anti-cop climate gives them a free pass,” he wrote. “Insults alone don’t faze us, but when they cross over into threats of violence, we need to take action.”
Crowell is being represented by the New York County Defender Services, and will appear in court next on Aug. 5.