Video shows cop punching suspect

Posted

The 50th Precinct’s commanding officer had some choice words in the wake of a video that went viral over the weekend showing three of his police officers attempting to arrest a teenager over a stolen bike. 

“You saw police work in action.” That’s what precinct deputy inspector Terence O’Toole said about a video that seems to show one officer pinned to the ground by Alfred Burns, 16, who was suffering blow after blow to the head from the right fist of a second officer near West 225th Street in Marble Hill around 9 a.m., Oct. 6.

Some who have watched it play out online feel the second officer used excessive force.

What the two-minute video circulating on social media and a viral video site doesn’t show, O’Toole said, was the altercation leading up to the arrest.

“There’s video of him taking the bike, then the store owner comes out to confront him and waves down the police officers,” he said. “As soon as the officers tell him, ‘You’re under arrest,’ he pushed the officer down and puts his hand over his throat.”

But by the time a crowd had gathered — and at least one spectator began filming with their smartphone — Burns’ left hand was only near the officer’s neck for a few seconds before spending the rest of the video using it to protect his head from the barrage of punches coming from the second officer, who O’Toole didn’t want to identify out of fear for that officer’s safety. 

In that time, the officer threw 13 punches at Burns’ head before a third officer finally got involved and handcuffed Burns, who later was transported to North Central Bronx Hospital to get four stitches above his forehead. 

“People fail to realize that police are allowed to use physical force,” O’Toole said. “It looks awful, but it’s lawful. If you are placed under arrest then you comply.”

None of the officers involved in the altercation have been placed on leave despite an internal affairs investigation into the case, O’Toole said, but they’re still taking some time off.

“Both officers are out sick, three officers were injured in the melee,” he said. “Just bruises, contusions, some minor stuff.”

O’Toole defended his officers saying Burns has been a problem for the New York Police Department in the past, reading off a long rap sheet of charges, arrests and even a pair of open warrants. 

“He’s a scourge on the Bronx as it is at 16 years old,” O’Toole said. “This guy has his hands around an officer’s neck. Last time I checked, that is pretty dangerous. And he admits he stole the bike.”

And this ordeal likely wouldn’t be the last time Burns finds himself on the wrong side of the NYPD, O’Toole said, considering his list of prior arrests. 

“He is going to fight with police for the rest of his life, guaranteed,” O’Toole said. “And the next cop that he encounters may have to shoot him because he is going to fail to comply. Because that is going to be his lifestyle forever.”

The precinct’s top cop also added that officers in the 5-0 were looking for a number of people shown in the crowd watching the incident, namely an unidentified man who tried to stop the officer on top of Burns from continuing to punch him, and a woman who can be heard screaming throughout the clip.

“Those people are subject to arrest if we can find them,” O’Toole said. “The voice that is screaming the most is his girlfriend, who showed up here and she may be getting arrested, too.”

If arrested, O’Toole said they’d likely be charged for interfering with an arrest, and — in the case of Burns’ girlfriend — inciting a riot with her screams. 

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TruthTeller

I am normally a person who never takes the side of the police, since they are the footsoldiers for Wall Street bankers and their military/industrial partners, but in this case I will make an exception. If you watch the video, the suspect is clearly engaged in a fight/struggle with another officer who is down on the ground. How did you expect the other cop to get him off his partner? By telling him a bedtime story with cookies and milk? No, this scum had to be physically removed and I think it showed incredible restraint that the Police only punched his head. They were probably justified in using deadly force, or at least a Taser.

4 days ago
Georgie

Stolen bikes are a major problem in every neighborhood in the city, especially in the 50th Precinct. The 3 cops and their careers would have been better off just taking the stolen property report and going about their business. As it is, all 3 will be investigated by multiple entities for months and threatened with punitive action. I don't think the message that you don't put your career in jeopardy over a stolen bike will be lost on other cops.

4 days ago
RiverdaleTheBronx

After threatening the life of a police officer by choking, this perp should thank his lucky stars that he is still breathing.

4 days ago
Jennifer Scarlott

This incident is a shocking and yet not surprising incidence of criminal police brutality. A 16-year-old boy was pinned between and by two police officers (he allegedly knocked one of them down), and punched in the head 13 times by one of the officers, who meted out this punishment deliberately and methodically, despite bystanders efforts, including of a female officer, to stop him. It is remarkable that the boy did not suffer brain damage or worse. This is a boy clearly in need of all of the help that people around him can muster. Not blows to the head that may have been intended to kill.

The officer who brutalized the boy is dangerous and must be fired and prosecuted.

The commanding officer of the 50th precinct must also be terminated. He is equally if not more dangerous than the officer who carried out the beating. Terence O'Toole, calling the boy a "scourge of the Bronx," said, “He is going to fight with police for the rest of his life, guaranteed. And the next cop that he encounters may have to shoot him because he is going to fail to comply. Because that is going to be his lifestyle forever.” Note that O'Toole does not say that the boy may be injured or shot because at some future point he may endanger or harm a police officer. He says he may "have" to be shot for failure to comply.

This is a remarkable statement by anyone in a police force, let alone a commanding officer. In my opinion, Mr. O'Toole has calculatedly incited his own officers to take the life of a 16-year-old. And there's more -- Anthony Capote reports that O'Toole is searching for a man who tried to stop the cop from punching the teen, and a woman who screamed when she saw what was happening. This overt and, again, calculated arrogance and abuse of power is the epitome of racist, violent policing and can't be tolerated.

I hope that many, many people in this community will rise up and make clear that they will not tolerate this kind of policing and threat to civil liberties.

4 days ago
Rob

I agree with Jennifer. They should be terminated. Then maybe they can start their own bs "nonprofit". Maybe even pay themselves a large salary as CEO's of their own "nonprofit" group.

4 days ago
TruthTeller

Although I find JS's comment so utterly ridicoulous that I should not comment on it, I just can't help myself.

Ok, where do I begin? How about with her characterization of the incident........she writes "A 16-year-old boy was pinned between and by two police officers (he allegedly knocked one of them down)." Ok, so he is a 15 year old "boy" now? Sorry, but to me a boy is anyone under the age of 12. He is at least a teenager, and given his lengthy rap sheet, I'd say he has crossed over to a premature adulthood. So strike one.

Strike two........he was "pinned between two officers?" Wow, even the ministry of truth in 1984 wasn't as good at rewriting history. No, he violently assaulted a police officer after being caught stealing a bike. The way JS says it, this little boy was just walking down the street minding his own business when two racist police officers came along and after one falls to the ground, the other PO pushes a young boy down and pins him between him and the other officer. Wow!! Amazing denial of facts here.

Strike three........"This is a boy clearly in need of all of the help that people around him can muster." Chances are those around this "boy" are just as criminal in their behavior as he is. After all, most 16 year olds are not out stealing bikes and possess long rap sheets. Sorry, but he clearly comes from scum and therefore is scum.

Well, I've just struck out JS on three pitches. I could have gone for a whole inning, but what's the point. Leftism is a mental disorder and it is just as hard to treat. Probably harder, so why waste anymore of my time.

4 days ago
Jennifer Scarlott

Two other points. The first is that the 50th Precinct should immediately release the name of the police officer who assaulted 16-year-old Alfred Burns. The public has a right to know.

The second is that the 50th Precinct has created quite a set-up for the teen. First, a cop immobilizes him and delivers 13 punches to his head. One can imagine the hatred, anger, and fear of the police that would arise from such an experience, on top of the other issues in his life that this minor is contending with. Then, the 50th's commanding officer says that if the teen is foolish enough to "fail to comply" the next time he has an encounter with the police, he "may have to be shot." To one and all: if you were a 16-year-old boy with a history of trouble with the law, and you had been viciously beaten by police, how likely is it that you would be a magically reformed person, or that in your next encounter with police, your blood pressure would not rise, and you would be compliant and docile?

So then, the seemingly inevitable happens, and you are to blame for your own death. You, the 16-year-old, not the criminally violent cop who shoots you for being mouthy, or trying to flee, or pushing you, or throwing a punch, and not the commanding officer, sitting at his desk, sending out his subordinates with a shrug and a wink that the Bronx might be better off without such an irredemable "scourge." What hope can there be, after all, for a 16-year-old? A 16-year-old who, as the commenter above puts it, is "scum born of scum." It all reminds one of a Victor Hugo novel, except that for this child, it is devastatingly and tragically real.

In our system of "justice," there are many such set-ups for people of color. What are we going to do about it?

4 days ago
SJCBronx

I would rather see those that talk about this 16-year-old's character to be counselors, teachers, therapists, pastors, strong adult models, not police. The correct approach and language to help reorient a youth to a meaningful path is best deployed by them. We have to remember that some have better access to resources than others, but they can be found in any community. And adult maturity takes years, even for the most well-heeled.

In general, 50th Precinct officers are among the best I've experienced. They are helpful, competent, and thoughtful (ex. a car lost control on my street and severely scraped my car; i came out the next day to find the scrape and a note left on the windshield by a 50th P officer to come to the station to get information. And that's not the only incident.). This tumultuous video scene came as a surprise. There's a clear overuse of force to subdue a slim teenager, over something less important than the teen, like a bicycle. Later comments by police - better to save those for professionals in the social sciences, because a youth can definitely be sent down an unfruitful road, which doesn't have to be.

4 days ago
Jennifer Scarlott

There can be no doubt that there are good people serving in the NYPD in the 50th Precinct. But your story, SJCBronx, when placed side-by-side with what happened to Alfred Burns a week ago, can be interpreted as a good example of white privilege at work. Car owners in Riverdale get superb treatment by the 50th. Youth of color in Marble Hill are beaten to the point of possible brain injury or death. It's an old story.

4 days ago
Rob

Jennifer nails it again. SJC's story is a clear example of white privilege. Even though the police never saw her, we know only white people own cars in the Bronx. Clearly the unsuspecting car accident victim deserved to be taken down and subdued by the Officers and the youth that just stole the bike should've been handed a note by the larger Officer as the youth choked his partner. The note could have simply stated to come down to the precinct tomorrow. The store owner will be there to apologize for not giving you the bike for free and forcing you into a situation where you felt the need to steal and use violence.

3 days ago
TruthTeller

@ Rob. Excellent point. How did the police know the car owner was white? As we all know, the PO didn't, and it was not a "good example of white priveledge at work." It was simply a PO doing their job as they are supposed to, just like the incident with this "boy."

Police are not social workers, nor should they be concerned with sociology. I pay my taxes so that the police can take down criminals. In their line of work things get messy, especially when 16 year old "boys" with lengthy criminal rap sheets are involved. To start spouting off about "white priveledge" is extremely counterproductive and provocative. But of course that's what Soros funded leftists are there to do, so I'm not surprised at JS's reaction.

It must really suck to see everything that happens thru the filter of "race" and "racial justice." Mainly because the people they are trying to "save" don't give two craps about their pet causes that are mainly driven by a "look at me" mentality as well as virtue signaling to other libs. It's utterly amazing how out of touch these leftists are to the national zeitgeist right now. Note to leftists, you are hated and the people rejected your message. Tell me again about how Hilary, the fossilized old corrupt murdering battleaxe, won the popular vote and I'll link you to hundreds of articles proving those votes came from dead people, multiple voters and illegal aliens.

Leftists!! Your messaage has been rejected, as is evidenced by the national conversation as well as the comment section here. Keep posting as is your first amendment right, but don't be surprised at the negative reaction it causes, which will be mirrored again at the voting booth until your side actually takes the sides of regular everyday Americans just trying to put food on the table.

3 days ago
TruthTeller

I would also like to point out how heartening it is to see that a lot of my fellow Riverdalians are sane and live in the real world, as evidenced by the comments here. We outnumber the other side by a pretty wide margin, and that gives me a lot of hope for the future. The only thing I can say to my fellow brothers and sisters who live in the real world is don't be afraid to speak your mind to these leftist bullies. Like most bullies, when you push back they retreat. The left is the dominant culture (they own the media, tv, hollywood and the music industry) but they have become boring old maids and now all the cool kids are conservatives. Hollywood is going down now that their perversion is finally being exposed and those other industries I mentioned are getting creamed by alternative media. We are winning the culture war. We are winning the infowar. And why is that? Because the left can't be the dominant culture and the counterculture at the same time, and Conservatism is the new counter culture.

Conservative!!!! Speak your minds!!!!!

3 days ago
Jennifer Scarlott

In case it clears anything up for those frolicking on this thread-- I happen to know the commenter (a friend) who shared the car story, and that the street that person lives on is in Riverdale. Uh, no, not all car owners in the Bx are white, etc etc. The broad point that Riverdalians may receive different treatment from some in the NYPD than people of color receive from some in the NYPD is what is being made. Perhaps too difficult to grasp or observe for you fellas.

3 days ago
TruthTeller

WRONG!!

The point isn't whether you knew the lady was white Jennifer, the issue is, and Robs point was, that the police did not know she was white. You can't have "white privilege" (whatever that is) when the races of the subject are unknown to the police. To the cop who left the note the race of the car owner was unkown and irrelevant. So even though you made a personal jab at questioning our intelligence, and probably truly felt good doing it, you once again ended up being proven wrong in this case.

3 days ago
Jennifer Scarlott

Racial bias as a system works not just individual-by-individual, but on the wider level of neighborhoods as well. As all who live in the world know.

3 days ago
TruthTeller

That may be true, but look, you made an outlandish comment based on your own prejudices and rightly got called out and schooled on it. You were not talking about a "systemic neighborhood racial bias." You were talking about a cop expressing white priveldge by putting a note on a car. It was the height of prejudice and bias on your part to do that, and when we point out your logical fallacy, you should at least be humble enough to admit a mistake rather than try to double down with some sociological babble that yes, I understand, but that I reject. Police treat Riverdalians differently because taken as a whole Riverdalians aren't pinning cops down, putting their hands on their neck and trying to kill them. And while I will not go to the length of saying that everyone "down the hill" is a thug or a potential cop killer, it is denying reality to not see that violent crime and criminals are much more represented "down the hill" and thus the Police take a different approach. An approach based on reality.

Anyhow I know your next line of defense is that Riverdale is full of white collar criminals, and there are a lot of drug dens here. And you'd be right. I can't deny that. But again, the violent criminals are just not up here, hence the different approaches to policing.

3 days ago
Michael Hinman

Hello, everyone ...

I understand that this has sparked a rather intense debate, and I am glad that this discussion is taking place. There are some passionate opinions on all sides, and we encourage you to show that passion.

However, I am not going to babysit this thread. We expect that you will come here and share thoughts, debate topics, and listen to other viewpoints RESPECTFULLY. That means no personal attacks, no threats, no cursing ... imagine you're discussing this with your great-grandmother, who is a sweet woman who loves to talk about current events, but who would be very upset if you got rude.

I will start turning off comments to stories and such if I have to come in here and continue to find such language. And I will start removing people's ability to comment on stories if I have to continue to delete their comments and warn them.

Please do not force me to do that. I know we can all talk about these stories in a way that we can get our point across, listen, and be respectful of each other. We're all neighbors here, and while we can't always agree with each other, we can at least respect each other.

Does that sound like a good plan? :)

3 days ago
@Michael Hinman

Why bother to "threaten" anyone? You've been removing just about ALL of the comments in every thread. It's ridiculous. That's not babysitting. That's censorship of freedom of speech. The Riverdale Press should be ashamed of itself and should find someone else who is impartial to roam the comments section. Not only do you remove numerous comments that should remain, but the stories written here are always done from a "liberal" point of view, so God help you if you're conservative. We do have Riverdalians here that ARE conservative on some issues, and that should be okay; instead people are censored here.

Riverdale, NY

Yesterday at 2:45 PM
Michael Hinman

Hello, anonymous poster!

First, "freedom of speech" in context of the First Amendment defends your right to free speech in the face of governmental censorship. It does not guarantee any right to speech beyond that. That is why we are not required, for instance, to publish every letter to the editor (or ANY letter to the editor, if we choose), because that right is not absolute, nor does it cover non-governmental entities.

Also, your use of an absolute, even a near-absolute, would be quite incorrect. As you can notice on many stories that appear on this website, there are a number of comments, including this, the 19th, on this one. Only two comments have been removed from this thread, and I addressed the issues that led to their removal in my previous post.

Whether it's me roaming the comments section or someone else, it doesn't matter. Enforcement of basic civility will continue. I do not remove comments based on whether I agree with them or not — in fact, I love a good debate and a great discussion, and listening to all sides of the an issue, ESPECIALLY those that disagree with my own position.

What I do not like, and what is not really allowed on any board that promotes civility, are the name-calling, the personal attacks (especially against people who choose to use their real name here), the non-foundational claims that some anonymous posters are certain people, and so forth. There is no need for any of that here, especially in the course of civil conversation.

I do appreciate your feedback on our stories in the newspaper. What's funny is that last week, I had three different people accuse me of taking a conservative position in stories — probably the same stories you're referencing.

I've been in this business for a rather long time (I'm now in my 25th year), spending a great amount of time covering government or politics. And I will tell you that I have been told by a lot of people that my stories have a strong liberal slant. But you want to know what's funny? I've had other people refer to the SAME stories, accusing me of having a strong conservative slant.

You're going to read stories with your own prisms and perceptions, and that's fine. And while you might claim that our editorials lean more liberal (we are covering a generally more liberal community), I guarantee you that our stories do not. We check bias at the door, and do what we can to treat everyone — and all viewpoints — fairly. Our goal always is to change minds ... sometimes even our own.

The Riverdale Press has a very active Opinion page, which is something that attracted me to this newspaper when I was first being approached to lead it. It's actually a rarity to see such a vibrant opinion page in community newspapers these days, especially since inclusion on those pages require you to share your real identity — not as attractive when you can sit online and hide behind anonymity.

Yet, our wonderful readers see value in sharing their opinions, and signing their names to it. And I have such a high volume of letters and Points of View that I have made a few people upset just recently, including an elected official or two, because I have had to enforce submission deadlines for Opinion (and even those who meet that deadline still could be forced to wait a week, even two, before publication).

Those letters share all kinds of viewpoints, both liberal and conservative, and everything else in the spectrum. We don't censor those voices, and we make every effort to publish each and every submission you, our readers, ask us to do. Even when it's critical of us. In fact, in the seven months I have led this paper's editorial department, I have utilized the "Editor's Note" just once, and it likely will be a very rare occurrence.

Short answer (because I do tend to be verbose) ... if you don't want to be "censored," then practice common civility. Stick to the discussions. Don't target people, especially individual posters. Let's keep the language what we would use in front of our great-grandmothers, and not only speak, but also listen.

Comments like these are a great way to share your thoughts but also to listen to others. It's how we converse, and learn ... and grow. :)

2 hours ago