A handful of cops are in hot water after allegedly beating up a 26-year-old gay man outside the 79th Precinct station house, ostensibly for urinating in public. According to a statement from the New York City Anti-Violence Project, the man, identified as Josh Williams, was attacked by police in Bed-Stuy around 4 a.m. on June 2, with the accusing officer allegedly shoving him against a police car and several others “throwing him to the ground and pepper spraying him while he was in handcuffs.”
A shaky video taken by one of the victim’s friends captures lots of shouting and swearing, though the circumstances leading up to the melee are unclear. A cop aggressively grabs Williams toward the beginning of the video, at one point shouting at the others, “You want to go with him, you stupid fuck?” The cameraman retreats around the corner and, upon returning, reveals a crush of at least four officers surrounding Williams, who at this point is on the ground.
“Why is he standing in the parking lot of a police department?” one cop shouted. “Because the police officer right here called him over!” the camera man said. “That’s why he was standing here.”
As Williams is dragged to the car, the cameraman requested the cop’s badge number, and was not acknowledged. Williams was ultimately charged with urinating in public and resisting arrest, said Sharon Stapel, AVP’s executive director.
The NYPD has not responded to a request for comment. According to a statement from AVP, the two other witnesses—Williams’ roommates, also openly gay—were later arrested as well. Watch the full video.
Williams, a waiter in Williamsburg, “suffered a laceration on his face that required four stitches, bruised ribs, a black eye and a scrape on his torso,” the Village Voice reports. The officers are reportedly under investigation by the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau—both of Williams’s roommates, Ben Collins and Tony Maenza, allege that one officer used anti-gay slurs during the arrest. From the Voice report:
Maenza was watching the incident from the sidewalk and videotaping with his phone. “Josh is on the ground, he’s surrounded by officers, he’s been maced, and they pick him up and take him into the precinct,” he says. “At that point, one of the officers called us ‘faggots.’”
Collins recalled that the officer called them, “fucking faggots.”… Collins says he was slammed against a parked van and handcuffed. “I asked repeatedly what we were being charged with, and I wasn’t able to get an answer. I believe they arrested us because when the last officer who called us faggots, Tony told him that we had the incident on video, and I’m sure he relayed that information inside and they then decided to follow us outside and arrest us.”