A Bronx man has accused a half-dozen NYPD officers of taking turns beating and kicking him after he asked an officer why he had been searched when she was responding to a noise complaint.
According to Santiago Hernandez, 23, he was standing in front of a home in the Melrose section of Bronx on August 18, 2014 when a uniformed NYPD officer stopped and asked to frisk him.
“I turned around and put my hands up,” Hernandez explained, saying the officers told him they were investigating a noise complaint.
When the search turned up nothing, Hernandez asked why he had been searched. At that point the female officer grabbed his arm and slapped a handcuff on him.
“I’m like, ‘Miss what you doing? You are hurting my arm,’ ” Hernandez said. “She just was telling me to put my hands behind my back, but ‘I’m like trying to understand what are you are arresting me for. Can you please tell me?’.”
Moments after refusing to comply to an order to put both his hands behind his back, a half-dozen uniformed officers appeared and dog-piled on Hernandez, punching and kicking and dragging him onto the sidewalk.
Cellphone video backs up his account of the assault.
“They was taking turns on me. One kicks me, he steps back. Another one comes to punch me and he steps back,” Hernandez said. “And another one comes and grabs my arm and hits me like 10 times with the baton. Another one comes and pepper sprayed me, they were taking turns like a gang.”
The video shows a subdued Hernandez then being dragged to a waiting patrol car.
Photos show Hernandez covered in bruises and scrapes after the incident.
Hernandez was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, however the Bronx DA declined to prosecute the case.
Hernandez told Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett that he had reason to be concerned about being arrested since he is on parole following six years in prison for a conviction related to gang activity when he was fourteen.
Asked why he did not just comply and allow himself to handcuffed, Hernandez replied, “Because I’m a person to ask questions. If I didn’t do nothing wrong, I’m trying to understand the reason, what they are thinking of me, or what was the reason at all to arrest me.”
Jay Heinrich, Hernandez’s attorney, said, “Unfortunately, for young men like Santiago, I think this incident is all too common.”
Hernandez’s attorney said he would be filing a civil suit against the city.
The NYPD claims they are investigating the matter.