Recently surfaced video shows two New York City police officers apparently taunting students from a Brooklyn high school, threatening them with a Taser as they walk down the street.
The video, recorded in mid-March, appears to show one officer with his baton out in his hand as he and his partner walk down the street, apparently trying to shoo students from Midwood High School off the sidewalk, The Gothamist reports.
The video, which was uploaded by City University of New York associate professor Alex Vitale, shows the two officers following some of the students, before the baton-wielding officer can be seen lightly pushing one boy forward. The student tells the officer not to touch him, at which point the officer can be heard beginning to taunt the student repeatedly: “What are you gonna do about it?”
While still following the kids, the officer is seen unholstering his Taser and then saying, “You wanna ride the lightning?”
As the students cross the street, the officer taunts, “You better walk away,” before he stops following them.
As The Gothamist notes, the New York City Police Department’s patrol guide has specific rules about the use of Tasers, noting that they should “generally not be used on children.”
Vitale told The Gothamist that he began recording the incident after seeing the NYPD officer get out of his vehicle with his baton already drawn. Vitale acknowledged that he was not privy to what happened before he witnessed that particular interaction, but added that when the officers approached the students, nothing was happening.
“I see officers aggressively dispersing students from Midwood all the time,” Vitale said. “Sometimes, admittedly, there are fights after school, and school safety officers, who are unarmed, will get the kids to move on.
“A cop saying things like that isn’t de-escalation, it’s escalation,” he added. “It’s the exact opposite of what we’ve been told they were going to be doing since Eric Garner.”
The NYPD said that the video is “under internal review.”
Read more at The Gothamist.