Responding to public outcry after a video showing officers from the New York Police Department assaulting unarmed street vendors in Brooklyn recently was posted online, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Wednesday that a cop seen in the video viciously kicking one merchant had been suspended and was under investigation by the department's office of internal affairs.
Calling the officer's attack "totally unprovoked," Bratton said the incident arose after an "effort to open the street" at the end of the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Street Festival devolved into "an altercation ... between our officers and several of the street vendors," DNAInfo reports.
Referring to one of his officers repeatedly kicking a defenseless resident, Bratton said the department "will treat those types of actions on the part of [its] officers very seriously." He went on to say he anticipated a town hall meeting featuring elected officials, cops and residents to be held in the neighborhood in the near future.
"We have a diverse community over there of Mexican population — Dominican and Puerto Rican — that’s the makeup of the population," Bratton said of the Brooklyn community, acknowledging the role that economic and racial social tensions have played in recent conflict between New Yorkers and their police.
"We will very aggressively be addressing both what I saw on the video but more importantly the larger issues," Bratton promised. Following increased awareness of NYPD mistreating New York City residents, Bratton has resisted calls to reconsider his signature, controversial "broken windows" policing theory.