BROOKLYN — Police body camera footage recorded during a demonstration in which an officer pulled down a protester’s mask and pepper sprayed him in the face was released by the NYPD on Tuesday.
The nearly 30-minute-long video of the daytime protest in Brooklyn on May 30 shows the incident as recorded by two different police officers. It also includes the moments leading up to it and afterward.
Video footage from the officer who sprayed the protester shows the cop’s hands go up in front of him as he orders several protesters to move backward. He can be heard repeatedly yelling, “Move back.”
A White man, a White woman and a Black man refuse to move as they hold their hands in the air, the video shows.
The officer is then seen lightly pushing the White man and woman backward before reaching for the Black man’s mask, pulling it down and quickly spraying him in the face.
The incident was also captured on cellphone video, which went viral on Twitter and was brought to the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
The officer was suspended without pay on June 5 following an Internal Affairs Bureau investigation and the case has been referred to the Department Advocate for further disciplinary action.
The incident is one of several police-protester clashes being reviewed by the NYPD.
The department has come under fire for its handling of demonstrations against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.
Floyd, a Black man, died after a White police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest for a non-violent crime.
Bystander video of Floyd’s death renewed national outrage over police treatment of people of color across the country and spawned weeks of demonstrations calling for police reform.
In New York, the state passed a series of new laws requiring more accountability and transparency from police.
Earlier Tuesday, de Blasio announced the NYPD would release body-cam video and audio to the public within 30 days if the use of a firearm, stun gun or force results in death or potential injury. Previously, the release of such footage was at the discretion of the police commissioner.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also issued an order requiring local governments statewide to work with community leaders to enact police reforms by April 2021.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump, who has been critical of the protests, signed an executive order that bans police chokeholds unless an officer's life is in danger. The order also encourages police departments to update their training and enact higher standards.