To hear Jonathan Alvarez describe it, getting beaten by cops is a coming-of-age ritual in this country, especially for doing nothing more than trying to record them as they harass you.
The 17-year-old photographer says the New York City Police Department did just that last summer after they accused him and a friend of trespassing in a public park that closes at 1 a.m.
But it was only 9:45 p.m. when a pair of undercover cops confronted the teens as they were walking out of Forest Park in Queens.
Alvarez knew they were abusing their authority, which is why he began recording on his cell phone. That was when they became “enraged,” knocking the phone out of his hand, shattering its screen.
Police took him and his friend down to the station where they decided to pounce on him, beating him continuously for 20 long seconds.
Then they charged him with several misdemeanors, including assault for which he agreed to an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal where the charges will be dropped if he does not got arrested for the next few months.
However, he just filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the NYPD and you know how retaliatory they can get.
According to the New York Daily News:
The green space stays open until 1 a.m., unless otherwise specified by signage in the area, a Parks Department spokeswoman said. Alvarez and lawyer said there were no such signs in the area. But police say the teens were trespassing during the 9:45 p.m. arrest.
“I felt like I was being abducted,” said Alvarez, who began crying in the car on the way to the 102nd Precinct. “I felt really scared.”
His pal, Giovanni Mejias, who was also filming, was brought to the precinct as well.
At the stationhouse, Alvarez claims he was handcuffed when he was surrounded by officers.
“I heard one of them say ‘Alright, let’s jump this smart guy,’ ” Alvarez said. “The word ‘jump’ has stayed in my mind.”
About seven officers kicked and punched him on the ground in a beating that lasted at least 20 seconds, according to Alvarez and Mejias, who was in also the room.
Both allege that one of the two plainclothes officers joined the melee, clocking the teen in the eye.
“I saw the guy who arrested him just punching him, and the rest of the cops kicking him,” Mejias said.
Afterward, Alvarez and Mejias were taken to Central Booking, and later released . Alvarez then checked himself into a hospital, where he was treated for bruised ribs and abrasions on his head and body.
He describes the experience as a “betrayal.”
“We all go through it at some point. It’s like a bar mitzvah, a coming of age — you get jumped by cops,” Alvarez said. “My physical wounds aren’t nearly as bad as my emotional ones.”