A disturbing video taken in New York City shows police punching and beating a man who greeted the officers with his hands up.
The July 7 video, obtained and published by the New York Daily News, shows Thomas Jennings standing at the counter of a convenience store, raising his hands in surrender. A police officer approaches with a baton in his right hand and starts pushing him in the chest with his left. Jennings begins to back up with his hands in the air, when a second officer rushes in and starts punching Jennings in the head. The two officers then begin to handcuff Jennings’ hands behind his back. After cuffing Jennings, one officer hits him in the back with the baton and uses his elbow to drive Jennings’ face into the counter.
Jennings was arrested and accused of robbery, menacing, larceny, possession of stolen property, possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest, according to the criminal complaint obtained by Mother Jones. He was held without bail until July 13, and was then released.
According to the Daily News, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD are both reviewing the incident.
The incident apparently began at another store, where Jennings and another man tried to buy two slices of pizza. Jennings told the paper that he was a dollar short, so he stepped outside to ask someone for a quick loan. After he left, the other man allegedly pulled out a switchblade and told the employee that they weren’t going to pay for the pizza. Then both men fled. Police tracked Jennings to another store, where the confrontation took place.
“It’s horrendous what they did to him,” Amy Rameau, Jennings’ lawyer, told the Daily News. “He had his hands up. He didn’t pose a threat to anyone in that store. It was an absolute use of excessive force.”