The New York Police Department (NYPD) is investigating an incident where a group of its police officers brutally assaulted two Black men, leaving them both severely injured.
According to the New York Post, the violence began Tuesday afternoon on Broadway near 169th Street. A civilian caught the episode on camera, which started with two officers confronting the men. Words were exchanged, and one of the officers used his baton to hit one of the men's head. The second officer followed suit, joining his colleague in the confrontation.
Three plain-clothed individuals noticed the interaction and soon joined the fight. The NYPD disclosed these bystanders were two detectives and an off-duty deputy.
Bystanders said the men were smoking and blocking a stairwell. When authorities arrived at the scene and confronted the men, the fighting commenced.
After reviewing the footage, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio called the incident "really troubling." He received a briefing on the altercation and revealed early reports implied the two men "were creating a real problem for neighbors."
"But that being said, the images I saw in that video were really troubling. And we need to know a lot more," Mayor DeBlasio said at a town hall on Wednesday.
The New York Post identified the men as Aaron Grissom and Sydney Williams, both 36 years old. Williams has also been identified as William Sidney by other outlets. Speaking with The Post, Grissom claimed he was a victim of racial profiling and likened the attack to the brutal 1991 police beating of Los Angeles man Rodney King.
"I got beat down like I’m Rodney King," Grissom asserted.
Grissom left the fight with three broken ribs and needed five stitches in his head. Williams suffered a bruised face.
Following their detainment, Grissom and Williams were both booked with felony assault charges on a police officer, resisting arrest, menacing, disorderly conduct and loitering.
NBC New York writes the NYPD union justified the excessive use of force by the authorities, as Grissom and Williams reportedly provoked the officers in order to become viral stars.
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