New York City police officer Efrain Rojas allegedly assaulted and arrested Shawn Thomas for filming him and another police officer inside a Brooklyn subway station last Saturday.
A video (below) of the incident shot by Thomas on his video camera was originally confiscated by Rojas, who reportedly deleted it, but Thomas subsequently recovered the video and uploaded it to the web, notes the New York Daily News.
The video shows Rojas walking up to Thomas and using his personal iPhone to record Thomas as Thomas recorded another police officer arresting a young man.
“Why are you invading my personal space?” Thomas asked Rojas, who replied, “You’re violating my personal space, too."
“Do you pick and choose what part of your patrol guide to read?” Thomas countered.
Rojas threatened to arrest Thomas, who fired back, “Try it and see what happens. Now back the f--- up and get out of my personal space."
“That’s three times you cursed at me,” replied Rojas. “I haven’t cursed at you once.”
“That’s two,” adds Thomas. “Now back the f--- up. That’s three.”
Rojas told Thomas to leave, but he refused; the cop grabbed him and the video ends.
Thomas claims Rojas pulled him out of the subway station, forced him face down on a sidewalk and slammed his head into the pavement.
Another camera person reportedly recorded Thomas after the alleged assault happened.
“I was bleeding profusely,” Thomas told told PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com. “I was having really bad head pains while in jail, so they took me back to the hospital the following morning.”
Thomas was taken to the hospital twice over the weekend.
He was released on his own recognizance after being charged with obstructing government administration, resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
The NYPD's Transit Bureau Investigations Unit and the Civilian Complaint Review Board are reviewing the video.
Rojas allegedly deleted the video, but Thomas recovered the footage via a free program, Recuva.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the public is allowed to record police officers as long as they do not interfere with police work or endanger other people.
Sources: PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com and New York Daily News