A police officer in the US has been shootdown after punching a bystander during a social-distancing bust over the weekend.
The incident arose when NYPD officers attempted to break up a group of people congregating in the Lower East Side of New York City.
In a now viral video shot by one of the bystanders, the taser-wielding officer yells at the crowd saying, “Move the f- -k back right now!”.
Mr Garcia then holsters his Taser only to grab one onlooker from the crowd, identified by as Donni Wright.
Mr Garcia wrestles the 33-year-old to the footpath, repeatedly slapping his head and punching him, as another officer moves in to help cuff him.
The NYPD claims Mr Garcia felt threatened when Mr Wright struck a fierce stance and injured the officer in the brawl.
READ MORE:Live updates on the coronavirus pandemic
In the video, Mr Garcia can we heard yelling “What you flexing for? Don’t flex!”
Mr Wright charged with a number of offences including assault of a police officer, menacing and resisting arrest.
Mr Brunsom, 31, and Ms Serrano, 22, also face resisting arrest charges, with Mr Brunsom also charged with possession of illegal drugs and Ms Serrano hit with criminal possession of a weapon for a stun gun she was allegedly carrying.
Mr Garcia has been placed on modified duty, pending a probe by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
“It started out as a social distancing enforcement,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a joint Sunday press briefing with Mayor de Blasio. “I am aware of the video that’s out there.”
Despite the dust-up, Commissioner Shea stressed that New Yorkers emerging from their coronavirus quarantine on a beautiful city weekend generally heeded the department’s directives on social-distancing.
“I would just reiterate that we had tens of thousands of interactions with people all across the city yesterday, most of them without having to issue any type of enforcement activity, whether it’s a summons or arrest,” he said.
“New Yorkers are exhibiting extreme patience for the last few months,” he said. “We’re going to ask for a little more of it.”
Almost 19,000 people have died in New York alone with more than 313,000 confirmed cases.
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