Video of detective hitting woman prompts NYPD investigation
New York City police said Thursday they’re investigating a confrontation this week in which a detective shoved and hit a woman, causing her to fall to the ground, after she struck him as he was helping arrest an armed suspect who was wanted in connection with an attempted killing.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau’s Force Group is investigating. Advocates called for Detective Kendo Kinsey’s firing after a bystander captured video of the clash, which occurred Tuesday. As of Thursday, there was no change in his duty status.
Sewell also authorized the release of body camera footage, which shows the woman approaching Kinsey, asking “What’s the problem?” and hitting the detective in the chest. Officers were arresting a man wanted in a shooting on Aug. 12, which police said involved several suspects firing at multiple people.
Kinsey is then seen striking her with an open hand, knocking her flat on the ground. She remained conscious and was taken to a hospital at her request, Sewell said.
Mayor Eric Adams defended Kinsey, saying he and other officers showed “great restraint” and “did what the system called for.” A crowd had gathered around the officers and attempted to disrupt the arrest, said Adams, a former New York City police captain.
“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,’” Adams said.
National Action Network, the Manhattan-based civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, held a press conference Wednesday calling for better police training and utilizing tools like body-worn cameras.
“There must be accountability for the bad policing that we saw yesterday,” said Ashley Sharpton, Al Sharpton’s daughter. “That is not how police should be handling young people — anybody — in our community.”
The woman, Tamani Crum, 19, was one of three people involved in the Harlem incident who were arrested and charged with obstructing governmental administration, a misdemeanor. She was released without bail. A message seeking comment was left with her lawyer.
Kinsey became an NYPD officer in 2005 and earned 10 commendations for excellent police duty and meritorious police duty, according to police records. He was promoted to detective last December and assigned to the Harlem precinct where Tuesday’s altercation took place.
Kinsey has been the subject of 13 misconduct complaints, some for excessive use of force. Two complaints were substantiated: in 2011 for using discourteous language and in 2015 for abuse of authority, according to data from the city’s police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
Kinsey was exonerated in two complaints, while others fell apart for various reasons, including lack of witness cooperation and the unavailability of accusers.
The suspect in the attempted killing, Elvin James, had an illegal “ghost gun” in his waistband at the time of his arrest, a loaded semiautomatic Polymer 80, Sewell said. James was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.
James is being held on $300,000 bond and is due back in court on Friday. A message seeking comment was left with his lawyer.
The head of Kinsey’s union suggested that, in approaching James as he was being arrested, Crum could have “grabbed the illegal firearm or have helped the man use it against police.”
Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said via Twitter that the union is exploring the possibility of suing Crum, a tactic it endorsed last year when Detective Vincent Cheung sued a protester he said berated him with racist anti-Asian epithets. Cheung is appealing after a judge dismissed the case on free speech grounds.
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