An unarmed Black man was seen in a now-viral video being punched repeatedly by an NYPD officer while restrained at a subway station.
The NYPD police released the footage on Thursday. The clip shows three officers holding 50-year-old Alex Lowery down while another officer repeatedly punches him in the head. The incident unfolded on Tuesday around 6 p.m. when officers confronted Lowery and said that he would have to leave for smoking a cigarette at the subway station in Manhattan’s Financial District. As the officers were escorting him out, Lowery reportedly turned around and spat in one of the officers’ faces.
“The officers then attempted to take custody of the suspect,” the police statement read. “A struggle ensued on the stairs, and the suspect punched an officer in the face and head-butted an officer. The officers and the suspect then tumbled down the stairs where the suspect punched an officer in the face.”
During the struggle, Lowery ended up on top of one of the officers.
One officer is heard yelling, “Give me your hand!” as the man tried to reach for the officer’s leg. After punching Lowery, the officer who was on top of him repeats,” Give me your hand!” Another officer says, “Roll over and give us your hand now,” as they force the man onto his side. They held him down for almost a minute while they handcuffed him from behind.
Once Lowery was handcuffed, the officers eased off him. Two additional officers with police canines watched from a distance.
Lowery has been charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, two counts of resisting arrest, two counts of violating a local law, and two disorderly conduct counts.
Critics have called the incident a case of police brutality. However, law enforcement supporters praised the officers for practicing restraint in the incident.
“None of that assault was shown in the partial video circulating online, because the pro-criminal crowd doesn’t want you to know how truly dangerous the subways have become – even for police officers,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.