Cop’s knockout hit that family says gave teen brain damage

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Grim gathering: The family of Marcel Hamer, center, says that a police officer stopped him while he was walking down a Clinton Hill street smoking a cigarette in June and knocked him out for no reason. His mom, left, is now suing police with the help of lawyer James Ross, right.

A police officer apparently knocked out a Clinton Hill teen with one blow after stopping him for smoking a cigarette, hitting him so hard he now has neurological problems, according to the boy’s family.

Lawyers for Marcel Hamer say he was walking home from a store down Gates Avenue with friends near Waverly Avenue around 3:30 pm on June 4, when the plainclothes cop jumped out of a blue van and accused him of smoking marijuana. He and his friends started to run, then stopped, Hamer told a registered nurse at Brooklyn Hospital Center. The cop caught up to him, pushed him to the ground, and Hamer hit his left arm on a planter rail, after which he couldn’t move it, he said, according to medical records.

A video of the incident picks up with Hamer lying in the gutter, pleading with the officer to lay off as the cop holds him by the right hand, which according to Hamer’s account in medical records is handcuffed. The undercover orders, “Turn around.”

“Mister, it was just a cigarette, sir,” Hamer says, without rolling over.

Teens, apparently friends of Hamer’s, hover nearby and the officer turns to one, still holding Hamer, and threatens him.

“Do you wanna get f----- up?” the cop says.

The moment of the apparent knockout blow is partially obscured in the footage, but the officer appears to punch Hamer in the face with his left hand, prompting protests from Hamer’s friends.

“Yo, you wiling!” one teen says to the officer.

“Yeah, get it on film,” the cop retorts.

The officer then repeats his order for Hamer to “turn around,” but Hamer is lying completely prone.

“You knocked him out!” a female friend yells.

“Wake up, Cello,” another friend says.

A second man, apparently also an undercover officer, runs over and helps the first cop put cuffs on the apparently unconscious teen, and at one point reaches into his back pocket. Hamer lies unmoving in the 45 seconds between the punch and the video’s end.

“You going to jail on that one,” another teen says.

Hamer came to when paramedics were lifting him onto a stretcher and complained of blurred vision, a headache, and being unable to properly move his left arm, medical records show. He was handcuffed in his hospital bed and officers sat beside him during treatment, according to the records.

It is unclear what happened in the moments leading up to the punch, but Hamer’s family is calling for the officer to be criminally prosecuted.

“If what happened on this video was reversed and Marcel assaulted this officer in the same exact manner, Marcel would be prosecuted, and this officer should be prosecuted for what he did,” said attorney James Ross, who is handling the family’s civil suit.

Hamer, now 17, has suffered from headaches, dizziness, and memory loss since the incident, his mom said.

“He is always complaining of headaches and he cannot remember things,” Mary Hamer said. “He used to be pretty sharp, and now I am helping him.”

Retired state Supreme Court judge William Thompson is also a member of the legal team working on the case and said the incident is a symptom of a larger cultural problem in the NYPD.

“It is pervasive now, throughout the department,” said attorney William Thompson. “It is indicative of an attitude in the police department that is, ‘Them against us. Let’s do whatever we want.’ ”

The attorneys declined to release the name of the officer responsible. Hamer was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty to a violation, according to Ross.

The NYPD would not comment on the incident other than to say that it is under investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

The law firm released the video the same day as another piece of footage surfaced showing officers in Bedford-Stuyvesant punch and pistol-whip an unarmed teen who has his hands raised in surrender. Police arrested the teen for marijuana possession, according to a report by DNAinfo.

On Oct. 2, police Commissioner Bill Bratton vowed to clean up the NYPD at a conference of department commanders.

“We will aggressively seek to get those out of the department who should not be here,” he said, according to reports. “The brutal, the corrupt, the racist, the incompetent.”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Context added from medical records. Updated to reflect that Hamer was walking home from a store, not from school, as indicated by his recounting of the incident to a registered nurse.
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
I woke up this morning and wondered as I was perusing Twitter if I'd see as many terrible things the cops have done today as I saw yesterday.

I have.

These cops are out of control. We need massive layoffs of the NYPD immediately. Not just to wipe out the bad apples, though the bad apples have surely spoiled the whole barrel at this point. Not just to replace them. We need massive layoffs to 1) stop this overpolicing of non-crimes that result in injuries and death too often and 2) to save the taxpayers money on their bloated salaries and benefits and the lawsuits they leave us on the hook for.
Oct. 8, 2014, 9:23 am
Jean from Bushwick says:
This is getting extremely scary folks, even without seeing all of the footage, you begin to ask yourself, is this really what the world is coming to? Lord help us?
Oct. 8, 2014, 9:33 am
Jay Pelc from Brooklyn , NY says:
I am more than sick of the automatic rush to bash cops. No more open season, its not right and its not fair. Every time we get only one side of the story and a rush to judgment, there always follows information that puts quite a different light on things. And here's another thing-no more political correctness-it is killing this country. If the cop was black and the perpetrator white, we wouldn't hear a word because we never do. I mean Ferguson is a federal case whereas, to give you one example, we have a terrorist beheading a former co-worker but WHY IS THERE NO INVESTIGATION ? When whites are innocent victims of the Knockout "game," i.e. severe black on white violence, why IS THERE NO INVESTIGATION ? I am sick of it as should any American citizen who is paying attention.
Oct. 8, 2014, 11:16 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
I hate to be the one to say this, but this is clearly unacceptable and even disturbing.
Pardon my saying so.
Oct. 8, 2014, 11:20 am
Jake from Brooklyn, NY says:
And yet BdB does nothing but stand behind little Himmler aka Bratton while this stuff keeps getting exposed.
Oct. 8, 2014, 12:38 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Jay Pelc from brooklyn, knockout game is meant to attack perceived weak fools. Besides a lot of cops are getting their payback from the public for their corruption,
But for every bad cop there's always a good cop who performs his duty with fairness and dignity unlike the usual goombah old school people.
Oct. 8, 2014, 12:56 pm
Mark Jones from Crown Heights says:
>> These cops are out of control.

For those who live in these actual neighborhoods, we know that the residents are the ones who are out of control. Fights in the street at all hours, people arguing, shouting at each other in the middle of the intersection, parks.

Last night, strolling home I saw this about a dozen times during the course of a single hour. A mother shrieking and cursing at her daughter in the middle of Nostrand with pedestrians passing blithely all around her. Another man yelling racial epithets at another, working up to fight.

There's a real distortion about who is at fault here. The residents blame the cops, but rarely blame themselves.

Who are killing and harming black men?

Other black men.
Oct. 8, 2014, 1:38 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
People arguing! Raised voices! Curse words!

Do you see the difference between those things and what is in this video, Mark? No, you don't. So I'll spell it out for you. The video shows violence.

I'm not even going to go into the racism of your post. It's out there and clear to everyone, so what's the point?

I just want to make it very clear that on the spectrum of "control," we all remember that raising your voice in public is more controlled than knocking someone out.
Oct. 8, 2014, 1:49 pm
joey from Clinton Hills says:
Waverly is #1 street for muggings in Clinton Hill and that is probably why there were undercover cops lurking. Also, why did this kid plead guilty?

Regardless, the cop that punched him and the one that didn't help should be fired.
Oct. 8, 2014, 1:55 pm
jay from nyc says:
ok first jay pelc stop with the crap about the O.K. beheader, you posted crap about that before, which has no basis in reality and is just race baiting.
Second "JAY PELC" I guess you did not bother to watch the video, as the cop IS black, which proves more than anything what you are about.
Third, What I am sick of, is people like you JAY PELC who clearly misrepresent facts for political motives, THAT is only PART of what is hurting this country, the other part is the failure by decent citizens to tell people like you to go scratch.
SO for all the NON JAY PELC types who have a brain, lets focus on what happened on the video, rather than making things up.
The video appears to show a kid on the ground who perhaps did not comply with an order to get up, and the cop responds by apparently knocking him out.
The kid was wrong not to follow the cops directions, and when you don't follow cops directions terrible things can happen, cops are allowed to use force, and you don't get to ignore a cop trying to arrest you or detain you, whether the alleged infraction is large or small.
Now, whether the cops reaction and amount of force used on this kid was wrong, is yet to be determined by an examination and investigation of all the facts, which has not occurred, so for anyone to claim that they know what this is all about is wrong.
Yes, this looks horrible, it is ugly, but remember that dealing with criminals can be ugly, and just because it IS ugly does not automatically mean the cop did something wrong.
Sometimes things in life are just ugly and that is the way it is.
We have to wait and see what the investigation shows and whether this cops actions were just ugly reality or something criminal.
Oct. 8, 2014, 5:40 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
No matter what kind of crazy things the cops do to people, it still baffles me about how in the eyes of some people, the police cant do any wrong. Ok, according to them, he was somking weed. Big f'n deal, so what? Im pretty sure that some of you same people defending the cops for beating his head in are weed smokers yourself. It doesnt mean the damn cops had to pounce on him like that.
Oct. 8, 2014, 6:29 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
The NYPD are more ruthless then your average local street gang. Even all of the so-called "good" cops are willing to go crooked if need be. I hope this young man gets a lawyer & sue the sh*t outta them, which is probably in the works right now, needless to say.
Oct. 8, 2014, 6:33 pm
Fed Up from Brooklyn says:
Look whose in control now, how do they maintain their control? Through violence. Any interaction with the NYPD, any interaction at all, comes with the implicit understanding that they can kill you or maim you and escape prosecution. The same goes for the thousands of false charges, that is an act of violence as well. Sending someone to a cage for no reason at all is violence, we shouldn't forget that.

The fact is, the police are more powerful than a judge or jury, it is their word against yours. Don't think for a second that that fact is lost on them. They might be the bottom barrel of society but one thing they do know is their absolute power. Just look at this video and all of the other videos.

And unless you are rich and/or not afraid for your life good luck not taking a plea even if you are innocent. This is their culture. They must be shamed. They must all be fired. Every last one of them. It is a know fact within law enforcement circles that the NYPD is one of the most if not the most corrupt police department in this country. Remove all of them. Prosecute those who have broken the law, have cost the city millions in settlements. Until this happens, —— NYC.
Oct. 8, 2014, 9:28 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I really think we're reaching a point of all being fed up with the police. How often do I agree with jjm from clinton hill? Maybe something will change.

Yesterday, while we were digesting that day's news of police brutality, I saw something I never had before. Two thuggish cops beat up a kid. The third cop, who didn't beat him, is also being investigated for not stopping them. (When you are a cop witnessing a crime, it's your job to stop it.) I never thought I'd see the day.

I don't know how many heroes like Marcel Hamer it will take before the NYPD is held to account, but I hope it's not many more.
Oct. 8, 2014, 9:45 pm
Nunya from Over There says:
Doesn't Jay Pelc work for this publication?
Oct. 8, 2014, 10:29 pm
Mike Cherepko from Pittsburgh says:
Hi, I'm Mike from Pittsburgh, fantasizing I'm from Williamsburg.
Oct. 8, 2014, 10:49 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
I think this city is gonna erupt into chaos as more incidents involving police using excessive force is exposed. Its gonna hit the fan at some point, its only a matter of time.
Oct. 8, 2014, 10:59 pm
Mike Cherepko from I like to pretend it's Williamsburg says:
I go to CB1 meetings when I'm not pseudonymously and cowardly trolling threads. Why do I do that? Here's a photo of me:
Oct. 8, 2014, 11:02 pm
Pepper Holder from Carbndale il says:
What's New???
Oct. 8, 2014, 11:10 pm
A from Brooklyn says:
Death squads will act like death squads, and in New York that's the NYPD. In civilized parts of the world police don't dare act this way, mostly because their police forces don't covet the uneducated, violent, hateful, bigoted, and fantastically stupid. We do, which is why some kid now has brain damage for smoking a cigarette.
Oct. 9, 2014, 2:55 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Like I said before... Gestapo. You keep the peasants in line by busting heads. And don't look to Bill 'empty your pockets' De Blasio for anything other than placating. He's from Boston and like a majority of people from Boston he hates NY and NYers.
Oct. 9, 2014, 5:08 am
ty from pps says:
doesn't anybody care what I think?
Oct. 9, 2014, 6:34 am
Brian from Nyc says:
Piece of advice: do what the cops tell you to do. Leave no room for misconstrued actions. Be above reproach.
However, there are people out there just looking for a big payday, so they'll set ip the police and have it filmed. The police need to be above reproach, as well. They have an extremely difficult job. I wonder how these neughborhoods would fare with no police presence AT ALL? All this cop bashing needs to stop.

The mom insists her kid is newly brain-damaged. How do we know what his functionality was before the incident?
Oct. 9, 2014, 9:28 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
I like the fact that the reporter admits there is a gap in information leading up to the teen being knocked unconscious, but still reports the hearsay of the teen's friends and the teen's attorney repeating hearsay as the story. Thankfully, the courts do not follow this guilty by allegation process.
Oct. 9, 2014, 9:35 am
Katie from Flatlands says:
We only see the part of the video the nedia wants us to see. I reserve judjement until all the facts are in. I want to know what led up to the part of the video we were shown.
The goverment and media are very busy distracting us from the important National issues we are facing. They show things to get us angry and irrational. Things to divide the masses. They gain power and pull the wool over our eyes while we are buzy fighting with each orher. A case of Wag the Dog !
Oct. 9, 2014, 10:37 am
George from Sheepshead Bay says:
Yet another Punk Cop. Must really feel like a Man after beating up a kid. Should be fired and charged with assault. The people trying to justify what that Cop did are out of touch with reality. Wait till it happens to your Kid and see how you like it then.
Oct. 9, 2014, 1:09 pm
Frances from Inwood says:
NYPD needs to be held accountable for its officers actions and until they are we as new yorkers need to join together and picket police stations or stop supporting them because this is gonna keep happennin until we do something about it until we rally together and find a solution thre corrupt officers will keep doing this because they know they will never be prosecuted but if it was us doing it to a cop we would be in jail hold them to the same standards as us citizens
Oct. 9, 2014, 6:32 pm
Val from Bluffton, SC says:
Even if it WAS marijuana, that he was smoking it would not give this cop the right to treat him the way that he did. I CANNOT BELIEVE what I am seeing on a daily basis!
But, what really astonishes me are the people who think that there are two sides to this brutality.....people who think that if the woman would only learn to keep her yap shut she wouldn't get a black eye or that their kids deserve the same beatings that they got when they were kids "'cause look how dang wonderful I turd out to be". (Spelling intentional)
Oct. 9, 2014, 8:22 pm
Val from Bluffton, SC says:
Anyone who would defend this "cop's" behavior is either an idiot or a cop or both.
Oct. 9, 2014, 8:31 pm
bren from chattanooga tn says:
The sadder part is black cops treat fellow blacks no better than white cops, at times even worst than the white ones. But then again we shouldn't be at all surprised or shocked by such a revelation since some of the more brutal and sadistic slave drivers and overseers during slavery were often fellow black slaves. Guess "massah" trained'em well. Even into 21st century america. You can free the slave from the plantation but can you ever mentally free the slave from the effects and power of slavery? Doesn't seem so. After over a century in a half later "massah" still controls.
Oct. 9, 2014, 8:43 pm
Basil-Malik says:
WHen some of you understand police brutality has nothing to do with a cops individual race and everything to do with a system that gives cops the authority to operate above the laws they are sworn to enforce, then maybe, just maybe things will change. Yes, these incidents happen and have been happening disproportionately to blacks but you fail to realize many of the abusers are black. Wake up and stop whining when an american is asking for his rights to protected and seeking justice when its deserved. Is your privelege and entitlement enough. Damn. Maybe others just want to walk down the street and not get murdered for no damn reason.
Oct. 9, 2014, 10:15 pm
Basil-Malik says:
Mark Jones.. white men kill white men at about the same rate black men kill other white men. It is a crime of of proximity. But you know this already but it is easier to be a bigot without pushback when presented like that. You know who is the number one killer, raper and abductor of white women and children? White men.
Oct. 9, 2014, 10:18 pm
Nathanael from Upstate says:
There are a few good cops in the NYPD -- Frank Serpico. Adrian Schoolcraft. Look at what the rest of the NYPD did to the few good cops.

They actually kidnapped Schoolcraft and tried to force him into in a mental institution to prevent him from testifying against them. Nobody's gone to prison for any of the crimes which Schoolcraft testified about, and practically nobody has gone to prison for the crimes which Serpico testified about!

The NYPD is a Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization at this point, and needs to be liquidated entirely using the RICO laws. (By the way, so is the LAPD.)
Oct. 10, 2014, 5:33 am
BM from Queens says:
It's too bad citizens are being hurt and killed by the people who they trust.
Oct. 10, 2014, 1:22 pm
America from Urban Area says:
question- why plead guilty?
question- why no underage smoking enforced on him or parents or whomever sold purchased or gave it to him since he's now 17, how old was he when this tape was documented?
you need ID for that...
question- why no resisting arrest nor disobeying a direct order from an officer?
sigh} cant you smell the difference between marijuana and tobacco?" naah I good cop cant unless you're danzel on training day.smh
his aggression of assumption was inconclusive he should be stripped of his duties and place in anger management as well as face civil suites loss of wages etc etc... its okay to be wrong but face the consequences like a man-cop just as you would expect of a criminal caught red or black handed.hmm
this way of targeting crime has been going on since the beginning of Narc TNT it's no clear way to stop crime physically but the literature has always been in favor of the 'court' you basically have to find a case where they slip and use that to get out of yours- good luck"
and for my final act- we as a people as a whole can change the laws but not 200 people try 10 million heck lady gaga has 40 million followers its not hard to get attention for it if its something everybody truly wants, the process is progress" hopefully you've learned something from an open mind no shade shining bright " )
Oct. 10, 2014, 5:01 pm
Donna from NYC says:
Regardless of what we cannot see or do not know about the full story...not sure we are watching the same video...because without the full story we still see abuse! .the way this cop dragged him was not how he was trained he could have dislocated both of the teen's shoulders the way he was dragging him when he was knocked out... you can see the second cop holding the teen under the armpit which would be correct... this cop needs to get a different job too much ego. So sorry for this teen who even called this cop "Sir" seriously God help us.
Oct. 12, 2014, 12:31 am
Donna from NYC says:
Ohh another thing someone else please watch the end of this video again and let me know if you see this cop take something out of teen's pocket and put it in his own back pocket??
Oct. 12, 2014, 12:37 am
Simone from DC says:
Donna, it certainly wouldn't be the first time. Did you hear about Lamard Joye, a few days ago? NYPD cop took $1300 in cash off him and then pepper-sprayed him when he protested. Also pepper-sprayed his sister who asked for his badge number. Pretty sure cops are taking cash of people on a regular basis.
Oct. 13, 2014, 6:06 pm
Simone from DC says:
Well, *allegedly* anyway. Again the video evidence is incomplete, and the NYPD has a very different story than the victims.
Oct. 13, 2014, 6:07 pm
Sarah from England says:
This is now viral worldwide..
NYPD is famous for killing black males. Reading this in England UK...sending it throughout Europe and South America.
Oct. 14, 2014, 4:40 pm
Joe g from Utica park says:
Does anybody know that the kid bought drugs from an undercover cop that's why he was getting locked up, not for a cigarette
Nov. 28, 2014, 5:30 pm
ron from east side zanesville, ohio says:
I like how someone commented u don't know what led up to the sucker punch the dood was handcuffed and on the ground there should have never been a punch
Dec. 10, 2014, 2:11 pm
ron from east side zanesville, ohio says:
Cops should not sale drugs
Dec. 10, 2014, 2:17 pm
Pam Ross from Texas says:
To Jay Pelc, you don't hear about the "black on white" knockout punches because the % is so low. Count how many crimes of white folks killing or maiming black folks you can think, then think about the number of black folks killing white folks you can think of, which # is higher...better yet do some research!
Jan. 16, 2015, 6:53 pm

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