Lawyers for Marcel Hamer say he was walking home from school down Gates Avenue with friends near Waverly Avenue around 3:30 pm on June 4, when the plainclothes cop jumped out of a car and accused him of smoking marijuana. A video of the incident picks up with Hamer lying in the gutter pleading with the officer to lay off as the cop holds him by the hand and orders, “Turn around.”
“Mister, it was just a cigarette, sir,” Hamer says, repeating, “It was just a cigarette.”
The officer then threatens one teen who was apparently one of Hamer's friends of hovering nearby while he was holding Hamer. The moment of the knockout blow is partially obscured in the footage, but the officer appears to punch Hamer in the face with his left hand, prompting protests, and outrage from Hamer’s friends.
“Yo, you wiling!” one teen says to the officer.
“Yeah, get it on film,” the cop retorts.
The officer then repeats his order for Hamer to “turn around,” but Hamer is lying completely unconscious.
“You knocked him out!” a female friend yells.
“Wake up, Cello,” another friend says.
A second man, apparently also an undercover officer, runs over and helps the first cop put cuffs on the unconscious teen, and at one point reaches into his back pocket. Hamer lies unmoving in the 45 seconds between the punch and the video’s end.
“You going to jail on that one,” another teen says.
It is unclear what happened in the moments leading up to the punch, but Hamer’s family is calling for the officer to be criminally prosecuted.
“If what happened on this video was reversed and Marcel assaulted this officer in the same exact manner, Marcel would be prosecuted, and this officer should be prosecuted for what he did,” said attorney James Ross, who is handling the family’s civil suit.
Hamer, now 17, has suffered from headaches, dizziness, and memory loss since the incident, his mom said.
“He is always complaining of headaches and he cannot remember things,” Mary Hamer said. “He used to be pretty sharp, and now I am helping him.”
Retired state Supreme Court judge William Thompson is also a member of the legal team working on the case and said the incident is a symptom of a larger cultural problem in the NYPD.
“It is pervasive now, throughout the department,” said attorney William Thompson. “It is indicative of an attitude in the police department that is, ‘Them against us. Let’s do whatever we want.’ ”
The attorneys declined to release the name of the officer responsible.
Hamer was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and pleaded guilty to a violation, according to Ross.
The NYPD would not comment on the incident other than to say that it is under investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
The law firm released the video the same day as another piece of footage surfaced showing officers in Bedford-Stuyvesant punch and pistol-whip an unarmed teen who has his hands raised in surrender. Police arrested the teen for marijuana possession.
It happened Monday afternoon on England Avenue in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.
Ricky and Stacy Tyler have been foster parents to 18-year-old DeShawn Currie for about a year. The Tylers, their three young children and DeShawn moved to Fuquay-Varina in July. They said while they're still getting to know their neighbors, it's hurtful that someone would assume DeShawn was a burglar just for going about his normal routine of walking home after school.
"He's my baby boy just as much as my other three children are," said Stacy.
She left the side door to their home unlocked Monday for DeShawn, who was coming home early from school.
Fuquay-Varina police said when a neighbor saw DeShawn walk in; they called 911 to report a break-in, even though they did not witness an actual break in. Soon, to DeShawn's surprise, three officers were inside the house.
"They was like, 'Put your hands on the door,'" said DeShawn. "I was like, 'For what? This is my house.' I was like, 'Why are y'all in here?'"
DeShawn said he became angry when officers pointed out the pictures of the Tyler's three younger children on the mantle, assuming he didn't belong there because they were white, and DeShawn is black. An argument ensued and DeShawn said one of the officers pepper-sprayed him in the face.
By the time Stacy came home, EMS were treating DeShawn in the driveway. She cleared up the confusion with the officers, but not with the rest of her family.
"My 5-year-old last night, she looked at me and said, 'Mama I don't understand why they hated our brother, and they had to come in and hurt him.'"
"Everything that we've worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments," said Ricky Tyler.
DeShawn said he chose this family with a hope of security and love, but now he's not sure if he'll ever be able to move on.
"I'm feeling comfortable," explained DeShawn. "I had moved into my room, and I'm feeling like I'm loved. And then when they come in and they just profile me and say that I'm not who I am. And that I do not stay here because there was white kids on the wall, that really made me mad."
Fuquay-Varina police released a statement Monday saying officers responded to a report of suspicious criminal activity at the Tyler's home.
Officers said DeShawn became threatening and belligerent. When he would not follow the officers' instructions, they pepper-sprayed him.
Police also point out in their statement that the neighborhood where this happened has recently experienced criminal activity.
The Tylers and DeShawn met with Captain Bob Adams with the Fuquay-Varina Police Department Tuesday afternoon for a couple of hours.
No charges have been filed.........YET!