A 25-year-old New York City college student is accusing officers of wrongfully arresting and beating him up after they encountered him walking his 5-month-old puppy outside his house without a leash, the New York Daily News reports.
Nicholson Gregoire was walking around outside his Queens Village home Dec. 15 when he saw two officers conducting a stop and frisk nearby. One officer noticed the young man, who did not have the puppy on a leash, and asked for his ID. Gregoire told officers that it was in his home, and they reportedly allowed him to go inside the house, which he did, closing the door behind him.
This, however, is where stories begin to diverge. According to a police spokeswoman, officers were intending to write Gregoire a summons.
Gregoire reportedly went to his bedroom to get his ID, but the officers started ringing the doorbell, and so Gregoire's 87-year-old grandfather, Roleme, went down the stairs and opened the door. According to the police spokeswoman, Gregoire refused to give up his ID, even though his grandfather told him to do so.
Gregoire and his grandfather, however, say that the cops pushed past the elderly man and attempted to arrest Gregoire.
“The police are alleging that my client answered the door and dragged them inside, to justify coming into the house. … They had no basis to enter the premises,” Gregoire’s attorney Mark Crawford said, according to the Daily News.
All of a sudden, the situation escalated. Gregoire’s girlfriend recorded the police encounter on her phone. In the video you can see Gregoire holding his arms up as the two officers attempt to apprehend him. Gregoire’s left arm, according to the Daily News, is still in a sling because of an elbow injury sustained during the arrest.
“I’ve been watching the video over and over. I didn’t use any foul language. I don’t think I should have been arrested in my home for walking my dog. I was scared for my life. They have the guns,” the young man, a biology student at Nassau Community College, said.
According to the authorities, during the alleged struggle, Gregoire placed one of the officers in a choke hold, and backup was called.
“I don’t recall putting the officer in a choke hold,” he insisted.
Backup soon arrived at the home, and an officer jumped into the fray, allegedly hitting Gregoire in the face repeatedly. Gregoire’s head kept bumping back into the wall, making a hole there, video shows. A female voice in the background can be heard pleading with the officers to stop.
“They used two full cans of Mace on me like a rabid animal,” he said. “Not one of the officers tried to de-escalate the situation.”
Gregoire was ultimately charged with assaulting an officer, strangulation and resisting arrest.
“My client’s constitutional rights were violated. The officers were smiling, and that’s telling. These officers were not in any physical danger,” Crawford said. “The police showed no respect for the law, almost like a mob mentality. If they were not police officers, this would have been a gang assault.”
Gregoire says that since the incident, he has been getting migraines and suffers from nightmares. He was reportedly suspended from work after the incident and also missed his last final at school.
Read more at the New York Daily News.