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Brooklyn District Attorney charges NYPD officers with police brutality

November 6, 2014 By Charisma L. Troiano, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn D.A. Kenneth Thompson charged NYPD officers with police brutality. Eagle file screenshot from YouTube
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Two New York City police officers were charged on Wednesday with police brutality, stemming from the beating of an unarmed teen in Bedford-Stuyvesant this summer.

Officer David Afanador was charged with felony assault and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a weapon and official misconduct and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.  Officer Tyrane Isaac was charged with misdemeanor assault and official misconduct. If convicted, Isaac faces a significantly shorter prison term of one year behind bars. 

“By beating a 16-year old boy with their gun and fist after he raised his hands apparently to surrender, these police officers not only violated his rights but also trampled on their sworn oath to serve, protect and uphold the law,” D.A. Kenneth Thompson said in a released statement.

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In early October, video footage was released of a police officer hitting a 16-year-old suspect in the face with a gun. The footage captured via surveillance video shows Kahreem Tribble apprehended by police after a chase in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Aug. 29. It is unclear what transpired between the police and Tribble, but an officer is clearly seen punching Tribble in the face. It does not appear from the video that Tribble had a weapon. After the initial punch by the officer, Tribble is then shown with his hands in the air retreating backward and eventually collapsing to the ground.  As the video progresses, two officers are seen attacking Tribble, who is on the ground, and one officer is seen putting his gun back into his waist holster.

Thompson’s investigation contends that Isaac swung the first punch to Tribble’s head as he places his empty hands in the air and falls back against a storefront gate. It is believed to be Officer Afanador who runs up to the teen with his service weapon drawn and allegedly strikes Tribble in the mouth with his gun.  Officer Isaac, the D.A.’s Office asserts, is captured on video allegedly punching the teen several times in the face while he was on the ground. 

The longer video clip, the investigation further revealed, allegedly shows that Afanador was locating and retrieving a bag of marijuana that Tribble allegedly tossed before running away, approaching the teen with the bag and allegedly striking him in the face with it. 

As previously reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tribble was suspected of a crime involving marijuana. According to court records, Tribble was seen tossing a black canvas bag when he saw officers Afanador and Isaac along St. Johns Place in the early morning of Aug. 29. The bag was recovered, and Tribble was charged with possessing 17 small bags of marijuana and with disorderly conduct. Tribble plead guilty to a violation.

“Clearly, [NYPD] Commissioner [Bill] Bratton has seen the video and reacted very aggressively in the sense of saying there have to be consequences when anything is done the wrong way,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

Officer Afanador has been suspended without pay; Officer Isaac was placed on modified duty and stripped of his badge and gun. 

“What’s depicted on this video is troubling and warrants a thorough investigation,” Thompson said last month. 

A third officer, Christopher Mastoros, who is seen on the film but did not take part in the attack, has not been included in the criminal investigation.

Afanador and Isaac surrendered to authorities Wednesday and were arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court before Justice Danny Chun.

Both officers were released without bail. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 8. 

According to the D.A.’s investigation, Tribble allegedly suffered broken teeth as a result of the incident. 

In the past few months, at least five videos have been released purporting to show acts of police brutality, specifically in Brooklyn. In addition to the Tribble video, a police officer is alleged to have punched 17-year-old Marcel Hamer — accused of smoking marijuana in public view — in the face with such force that the teenager was allegedly knocked unconscious.  The video does not capture the alleged punch, but witnesses are heard reacting, and the video next cuts to Hamer on the ground and unresponsive. “Turn around,” the officer is then heard telling Hamer. Hamer does not move.

Additionally, in July, an officer is seen stomping on the head of an arrested individual; in August, a video was released showing a naked woman being dragged out of her apartment in Brownsville; in September, video surfaced of a police officer throwing a pregnant woman — belly down — onto the ground. 

The D.A.’s Office is currently investigating two additional incidents of purported police abuse.

“I expect more indictments to come out,” said civil rights attorney Amy Rameau, who represents Tribble and a number of other victims of police attacks. 

According to the New York Daily News, the last time a police officer was brought to trial on charges of police brutality was in 2008, when three Brooklyn police officers were accused of sodomizing a man with a baton. The officers were acquitted.  

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