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Video Footage Exonerates Brooklyn Teen of Assault on NYPD Cop

During Brooklyn's June 8 Puerto Rican Day Parade, 17-year-old Enrique Del Rosario was arrested filming police officers as they policed the event.

by VICE News
Mar 6 2015, 6:35pm

Photo by El Grito/YouTube

VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

Brooklyn prosecutors have dismissed charges against a Sunset Park teenager for assaulting a cop this past summer after a video surfaced earlier this year proving his innocence.

During Brooklyn's June 8 Puerto Rican Day Parade, 17-year-old Enrique Del Rosario was out filming officers as they policed the event. According to Dennis Flores, who founded the neighborhood police-monitoring group El Grito De Sunset, aggression between cops and attendees has become a common sight.

"The neighborhood gets flooded with police officers," Flores told Think Progress. "Young kids are marching, waving flags, and cops are corralling them, pushing them around, like it's a nuisance to have them out celebrating their culture."

Members of El Grito de Sunset Park were out recording the police on June 8, capturing the officers' presence and possible aggression. While Del Rosario is not a member of El Grito de Sunset Park, he was also out recording the police during the annual parade.

In footage captured by El Grito de Sunset Park, cops are seen dragging an individual to the NYPD van, while a bystander is heard in the background saying to the officers, "I got you on camera. He didn't do nothing."

In the clip, officers are seen violently shoving a woman, and other bystanders while yelling, "move back." Del Rosario can be seen next to the woman as this has happening. 

During Del Rosario's encounter with the police, officers lashed out against him for filming, and according to his lawyer, attempted to make him look like the instigator.

Flores has stated that while the brawl was taking place, a police officer accidentally struck another officer with a baton, which prosecutors pinned on Del Rosario. The video evidence uploaded to YouTube on January 28 disproves the prosecutors' initial claims.

Del Rosario's attorney Rebecca Heinegg told the The Brooklyn Paper that her client was attacked by the police officers.

"Basically, my client was a victim of a gang assault by the 72nd Precinct," said Heinegg.

"Five officers slammed him against the gate of a closed store. Batons came down on his head," she added.

A grand jury decided in September not to indict Del Rosario for the officer's assault, Heinegg said. Del Rosario was still facing charges for resisting arrest and larceny until the district attorney's office finally dismissed all charges, as long as he avoids trouble for six months.

Del Rosario was unable to recover his camera, and the footage from the NYPD has not surfaced. According to Think Progress, both Flores and Heinegg were unable to obtain NYPD video footage of the encounter.

The NYPD's body camera pilot program was launched in December 2014 in the wake of protests over the non-indictments of the cops who shot dead Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown and placed Staten Island man Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold.

In December, President Obama introduced a $263 Million plan to increase police training and the use of body cameras to record the officers' encounters with the public.