Mayor Eric Adams is backing the 32nd Precinct after NYPD officer Kendo Kinsey was shown on camera knocking 19-year-old Tamani Crum to the ground in Harlem last Tuesday. 

“I think those officers on the scene showed great restraint,” said Adams. “They did what the system called for. They didn’t turn off their body cameras, that’s why we have footage of what happened. I am not going to tell police officers to go out, apprehend dangerous people, and then come later when they did what they were supposed to do and not say you protected the people of this city.”

The disturbing incident occurred on the intersection of West 136th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard when police were arresting 22-year-old Elvin James. The initial cell phone video, along with body camera footage show Crum and Kinsey tussling before the officer thrust his arm out. Early reporting claimed a punch was thrown, although Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell says Kinsey struck with an open hand. The smaller Crum was knocked off her feet, landed on her head and subsequently arrested. 

She’s currently charged with one misdemeanor count of second degree obstruction of governmental administration, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Her lawyer could not be reached. Local council member Kristin Richardson Jordan condemned the officer’s behavior.

“We cannot ignore the systemic problems that continue to plague our community,” she said in a statement. “Lack of communication between the NYPD and our residents as well as culturally relevant training and expertise is missing. There is no reason for a resident that hasn’t committed a crime to be treated like a criminal. I am deeply saddened by the excessive force used by Officer Kinsey.”

Additionally, Richardson Jordan recommended an elected civilian review board independent of the CCRB should exist to handle such a case. Members would be voted in by the communities rather than picked by governing officials. 

On Wednesday afternoon, the National Action Network rallied outside the 32nd Precinct to condemn the NYPD’s actions. On Friday evening, another protest was held outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building by police watchdog Copwatch Patrol Unit (CPU). 

“We want to make sure that this is not swept under the rug, we want to make sure that Det. Kinsey is held accountable for his action,” said CPU founder Jose LaSalle. “Not just losing vacation pay, we want him fired, we want him prosecuted.”

“And for the mayor to come out there to say that these officers restrained himself is a disrespect to the community that they’re supposed to serve. Because if that’s what you call restraint, then we have a problem.” 

Kinsey’s stepmother Carmen Quinones feels like the media coverage mischaracterizes him and maintains he did not punch Crum. 

“Our people need to learn that everybody is not the same,” she said. “You can’t treat everybody the same. And they need to respect the police. They’re the first ones you call, it’s the police department. So they’re out there trying to do their job.”

According to the 32nd Precinct’s official Facebook page, the Bronx-born Kinsey is a veteran who “left the Marines on a Friday and was sworn in as a New York City police officer the following Monday.” According to ProPublica’s NYPD Files, there were three complaints holding six separate allegations made against him as a police officer, with two substantiated. 

Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps members and writes for New York City’s The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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