A white-shirted NYPD supervisor was caught on video punching a protester in the face Friday without apparent cause.
Well, the protester did admit shooting him a look.
Whatever that look was, it prompted Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona to grab him by his shoulders, spin him around and punch him hard in the face.
Felix Rivera-Pitre, the protester, said the officer ended up ripping his earring out, causing blood to spill out. He also happens to be HIV-positive.
According to Gothamist:
Rivera-Pitre, who is HIV positive and used to be a dancer, tells us he was walking a little bit in front of the police on William Street, and admits he “shot the cop a look.” But then, according to Rivera-Pitre (and this is in line with what we witnessed), “The cop just lunged at me full throttle and hit me on the left side of my face. It tore my earring out. I remember seeing my earring on the ground next to me and it was full of blood. I was completely dumbstruck. I’m HIV positive and that cop should get tested.”
Asked how he escaped, Rivera-Pitre says, “The cops were pulling me by my feet and the crowd was pulling me by my hands, and I was suspended in the air. But there were more people than cops, and they pulled me out.” The police were seen searching for Rivera-Pitre in the crowd, but somehow he managed to slip away.
Even though Rivera-Pitre got away, police want to charge him with attempted assault on a police officer, obstructing governmental justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Police claim he tried to elbow the cop in the face, but at least three videos show that wasn’t the case. And considering that almost everybody seemed to have a camera, there are surely many more videos out there.
Rivera-Pitre has retained civil rights attorney Ron Kuby.
“On the off chance they were intending to arrest him for injuring the captain’s fist with his jaw, I strongly suggest that you decide not to add insult to injury and avoid such a retaliatory move,” Kuby wrote in a letter to the NYPD and Manhattan DA’s office.