New York City police say they held a young man down and beat him in a Target store because he “refused to identify himself” Saturday evening in an incident caught on video.

The beating could have been much worse if it was not for the growing crowd of witnesses either recording or yelling at the cops to stop beating him.

In fact, more cops came out of nowhere to control the restless crowd, which appeared ready to start pulling officers off the man they were beating.

The young man, whose name has not been released, was charged resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, trespassing and disorderly conduct, according to Patch, who reached out to the NYPD for comment.

However, those are typical contempt-of-cop charges police use when they can’t determine if an actual crime was committed. Like shoplifting, for example, which is what a person would normally be arrested for inside a retail store. Or at least outside it once they walk out with the merchandise.

Nevertheless, those are all misdemeanor charges that generally don’t require a beat down.

Patch also reached out to Target who said their employees were the ones who called police:

And Target’s press office says in a statement that Target employees were the ones to call police: “At Target, we take the safety and security of our guests, team members and property very seriously. Following concerning behavior by one of our guests, the team contacted law enforcement.”

The video, recorded by a man named Michael Rolland, lasts almost 15 minutes, but it’s within the first minute that shows the beating. It currently has just more than 2,000 views but it is quickly going viral.

Rolland posted the following on Facebook:

The response was totally disproportionate and put his life at risk. From what I can tell they were beating him on the back because he refused to let go of the Bible (or other large gilded book) he was holding onto.

The book is ripped out of the man’s hands around the :49 mark in the video and tossed aside and nobody else seems to pay it any mind.

The  incident took place in Flatbush, Brooklyn and involved officers from NYPD’s 70th Precinct.  Police told Patch that the incident is “under internal review.”