The NYPD says it's investigating a video showing a man getting arrested after a knockout fight with a plainclothes officer Wednesday night.
The video circulating on Facebook, which had more than 1 million views by the next day, shows the arrest near 131st Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. The man's friend, who shot the video on his phone, told NBC 4 New York they were leaving a pizza place down the street to go to the man's apartment when he was stopped by plainclothes officers.
One of the officers asks the man, Saykour George, for his ID, the video shows. The NYPD said later police saw that George had a knife, prompting the stop.
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Jun Iceaa, the friend who shot the video, said George had small pocketknife in his pocket, but "the way [the officer] really approached us, was like he really had a grudge against my man, like he know him from somewhere," he said.
The video shows police attempting to take George into custody, and he refuses.
"I'm just trying to do my job," the officer says, taking out his handcuffs and telling George they can talk further in the police car.
"I'm letting you do your job," George says. When the officer says, "No, you're not," George says, "Y'all not arresting me for nothing. No, no, no," and he begins walking away.
The officer tries to stop George from walking away, and both move to travel a few steps and then the officer pushes George back. George then pushes the officer, and that's when the officer starts swinging. The two square off, and more police arrive and get George on the ground.
"The officer did not say, 'You are under arrest,'" said Iceaa.
"The officer swung at him how many times before my man swung?" said Iceaa. "You have to defend yourself if you know you're not under arrest."
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told NBC 4 New York Thursday he'd seen the video. He reminded New Yorkers that "you have no right under the law of New York to resist arrest," and that's what it appears George was doing.
He said, "The initial encounter -- the individual, all he had to do was surrender, and then we would not have had an encounter. So he didn't surrender, he now has additional charges against him. We'll process it through the courts."
Bratton said that in a preliminary review of the video, he "saw nothing inappropriate" with the officers' behavior, but that internal affairs is investigating.
In a statement, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said the officers did what they needed to do to take the man into custody.
"Given the current atmosphere on the streets today, people mistakenly think that they have the right to resist arrest and that inevitably leads to confrontation and potential injury," Lynch said. " The use of force in making an arrest is always ugly but is absolutely necessary and appropriate when the suspect resists. These two officers did their job, they did it appropriately and they are to be commended for a job well done."
Private security consultant Manny Gomez agreed.
"I don't see anything wrong with this video," he told NBC 4 New York. "He was belligerent, resisted arrest and he was in the wrong, period."
Watching the video, Gomez said it appears officers used minimum force to avoid close contact and to stop George from leaving.
"He used the bladed stance to keep his weapon away from the subject, and that's for his safety," he said.
George is facing several charges, including assault on an officer, possession of a weapon and disorderly conduct. Attorney information wasn't immediately clear.