Prosecutors charged a police officer with assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing for violently shoving a protester in Brooklyn to the ground last month in an incident captured in a viral video.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said that Vincent D’Andraia, 28, of Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct allegedly pushed 20-year-old Dounya Zayer to the street during the May 29 George Floyd protests near the Barclays Center.
Protesters and journalists covering the march caught the incident on camera, and the video soon went viral on social media.
Update: Got her permission with a fuck yeah. The cop pushed her so hard at Barclays & she flung back. She is tiny. Now she’s in the ER after a serious seizure. I’m waiting for updates but have to wait outside because of COVID-19. Please keep my protest sister in your thoughts. pic.twitter.com/MqV0QJ0D8h
— Whitney Hu 胡安行 – #DefundTheNYPD #AbolishPolice (@whitney_hu) May 30, 2020
According to the criminal complaint, Zayer was walking in the street when D’Andraia told her to move. As she went to ask the officer why she had to move, the officer allegedly smacked her cellphone out of her hand, then pushed her to the pavement.
The video shows Zayer rolling on the street into a nearby curb, as D’Andraia and other officers walked away. The victim reportedly suffered a seizure and a concussion, she said in a video she recorded in from the hospital.
Stop making excuses for the police. They are supposed to be protecting us. Not hurting us. pic.twitter.com/SoYtWMxIMh
— Dounya Zayer (@zayer_dounya) May 30, 2020
Gonzalez said he supported the demonstrators’ right to protest, and was “deeply troubled” by the incident.
“I fully support the long-held American tradition of non-violent protest. As District Attorney I cannot tolerate the use of excessive force against anyone exercising this Constitutionally guaranteed right,” he said. “This is especially true of those who are sworn to protect us and uphold the law. I am deeply troubled by this unnecessary assault. We will now seek to hold this defendant accountable.”
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau conducted an investigation into the shove last week. On June 5, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced that D’Andraia had been suspended without pay. The 73rd Precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Craig Edelman, was also reassigned.
D’Andraia is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Brooklyn Criminal Court on charges of third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree harassment and third-degree menacing. The assault charge, a Class A misdemeanor in New York state, carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.