Bronx residents are up in arms after clashing with cops at a weekend event where they were angrily asked to disperse by officers armed with stun guns.
One man who lives in the neighborhood near Yankee stadium said a cop pointed a taser at him Saturday night while he was holding his 7-year-old daughter in one hand and a cell phone in the other to record the confrontation.
“It was chaos,” said Edgar Alvarez, 37, a Verizon contractor who attended a block party at Sheridan Ave. and E. 164 St. “The officers weren’t trying to hear it. They started pushing and shoving. It was scary.”
He said the officers got indignant when he pulled out his iPhone and started recording. He said one officer tried to cover his badge, while another tried to slap the device out of his hand.
Edgar Alvarez says a cop pulled out a taser on him and his seven year old daughter during an incident that happened Saturday night.
Edgar Alvarez says a cop pulled out a taser on him and his seven year old daughter during an incident that happened Saturday night. (Esther Shittu/New York Daily News)
Alvarez’s video shows at least one irate officer screaming at the top of lungs, telling people to disperse while another officer holds a Taser at his side.
Several people were arrested or given criminal court summonses.
NYPD officials said they broke up the gathering at around 10:30 p.m. because attendees were blocking the street and sidewalk, impeding pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Community leaders acknowledged that there was no official permit for the gathering, which featured food and music, but said cops should have been more patient and cooperative about bringing the event to an end.
“The disperse order was given, but there wasn’t enough time for people to organize and get off the block,” said Hawk Newsome, a Black Lives Matter leader from the Bronx. “I don’t see this in other neighborhoods. They kind of roll up military-style and converge upon people. It’s problematic.”
Police arrested Juan Rivera, 43, or Yorktown Heights, and charged him with resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct, refusing to disperse and criminal impersonation of a police officer.
Also arrested was Tanie Ligon, 51, of Staten Island, who was charged with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana.
An NYPD spokeswoman said no Tasers were used on anyone, even after a large group refused a lawful order to disperse and surrounded the officers.
Newsome said the incident shows the gap that exists between cops and the community they serve. He said the NYPD’s public awareness campaign with filmmaker Spike Lee was not enough.
“I wish they had spent that money solving real problems instead of making commercials,” Newsome said.