On Monday Jan. 20, Queens College student, Alejandro Rodriguez was allegedly attacked by NYPD officers in Elmhurst, Queens.
Two different cell phone videos display, in parts, what occurred. The first video shows Rodriguez, 22, emotional and accusing the officers of calling him a “little punk.” One of the officers responds by saying, “I’m giving you a chance,” and tells Rodriguez to leave the premises. The second video shows Rodriguez with his arms up and backing away from the officers when he is attacked.
Despite the video evidence being ambiguous, the second cellphone clip does show Rodriguez with his hands up and backing away from officers, who then rush to him, slam him against a closed store front and throw him on the ground.
This has incident has added to the conversation of police brutality and targeting. Incidences of police using both brute force and targeting minorities are not isolated.
On June 28, 2011, the Monumental Five, a group of five men and women who were maced, abused and later arrested by an aggressive police force outside of Tamanny Hall in the Lower East Side following an album release party, accused the police of brutality. On this incident, police were cited as being unnecessarily aggressive and causing injuries to those imprisoned.
On June 3, 2011, Alvin, a Harlem teenager, was stopped and frisked by the NYPD was harassed and threatened. The incident was also secretly recorded by Alvin. The video shows the officers calling Alvin “a f—— mutt,” and threatening to break his arm and “punch him in the f—— face.”
On Sept. 20 2013, police unprovoked and forcefully arrested six CUNY students who were peacefully protesting against David Patraeus teaching at CUNY.
Such actions do not stay solely within their own boundaries, they have far reaching effects. Oluwakemi Ogunlade, a lower senior at QC, stated that she believed the police are biased.
“Racial profiling does exist and the police will use certain descriptions in order to target the ‘menace’ of society,” Ogunlade said. “I’ve never experienced racial profiling, but I do fear it.”
In a statement, the NYPD accused Rodriguez of spitting at the officers, refusing arrest and being drunk. The case is under investigation by both the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Civil Complaint Review Board. Rodriguez was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with cuts and bruises.