State of the city: Videos, the NYPD and the answer

Cyril Josh Barker | 8/7/2014, 1:09 p.m.
Chaos and mayhem could be the words to describe the state of the city since the video-recorded death of Eric ...

Chaos and mayhem could be the words to describe the state of the city since the video-recorded death of Eric Garner on Staten Island July 17. In the weeks after the death, it appears the relationship between police and the community is now at its worst, with so many moving parts on the game board.

News headlines and reports are now coming on what seems to be a daily basis of either someone being assaulted by police, a video recording of police brutality, a new layer in the already heated Garner case or a public statement being made that adds fuel to the fire.

As the case of Garner continues to play out, reports indicate that both the man who used his phone to record the incident and his wife have both been arrested in separate incidents just days a part.

Ramsay Orta, 22, was arrested on weapons possession charges. His wife, Chrissy Orta, 30, stated that the arrest is in retaliation for her husband recording the officers. Chrissy Orta was arrested Tuesday for allegedly attacking another woman.

Since Garner’s killing, several incidents have been caught on video involving the NYPD using excessive force, going viral and sparking outrage. Most, if not all, involved Black citizens.

The latest is a video recorded in Times Square by Naquan Miles, 25, of Officer Ryan Lathrop. In the 11-minute video, Lathrop asks Miles, “Is that your phone?” before taking the phone away from him. Audio is heard of Miles in pain. NYPD Internal Affairs is reportedly investigating.

In another recorded incident, in Brooklyn, Denise Stewart, 48, was dragged by NYPD officers from her Brownsville apartment and arrested July 13 (four days before the Garner incident), during a police response to a domestic violence 911 call. In the video, Stewart, a grandmother, had just come out of the shower and could be seen being dragged from her front door and into the hallway wearing nothing but a towel and underwear.

According to reports, Stewart told the police that they had the wrong apartment when they knocked on her door. When she attempted to close the door on the cops, the altercation began. Amy Rameau, Stewart’s lawyer, said in an interview that the cops pepper sprayed Stewart’s 4-year-old grandson and assaulted her 12-year-old daughter.

Last month, shortly before Garner’s death, Shaquan Jefferson, 27, recorded NYPD officers at the 125th Street 4, 5 and 6 line subway station putting Ronald Johns, 22, in a chokehold. Video shows the officers also punching and kneeing the man, resulting in a bloody nose and several bruises.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board announced this week that it is looking into chokehold claims. The CCRB says that in the past five years, there have been more than 1,100 chokehold claims by the public against the NYPD, with 10 claims currently being investigated.

This week, two unions representing the NYPD poured on the gas when the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association and the Sargent’s Benevolent Association held a joint press conference to address what they call “anti-police rhetoric” in light of the recent images of police abuse. PBA President Pat Lynch who led the 36-minute press conference, called out politicians, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, for making things worse.