An NYPD officer allegedly stole $1,300 from a man during a stop and frisk, and now, video of the incident has been released.
Lamard Joye was celebrating his birthday with his friends and his sister Lateefah Joye, a professional basketball player in Europe, when the officers approached them for a random search. One officer reaches into Joye’s pocket and takes out a wad of cash totaling $1,300.
“Give me my money,” says Joye to the officer.
“I believe that this officer made an assumption that any money Mr. Joye possessed was obtained illegally and therefore he would not report the theft,” said Joye’s lawyer Robert Marinelli. “This assumption was wrong. Mr. Joye is a hardworking taxpayer. An incident like this would never occur in a more affluent section of the city.”
In the clip, the officer can be seen pulling out a bottle of pepper spray and spraying Joye in the face. When Joye’s sister, the professional basketball player, complains about the money being taken, the officer pepper sprays her, too.
“I went to get his badge number and name,” Lateefah Joye said to NY Daily News. “I leaned over to see his badge. He pushed me away. I saw a two and a one and that’s when he pepper-sprayed me in my mouth and my whole face.”
Although the video doesn’t show what prompted the incident, Marinelli says that Joye and the group witnessed the officers “roughing up” a young man, Terrell Haskins, nearby and asked the cops, “Is that necessary?” That question prompted officers to search Joye and the group, and Lateefah says the entire incident was unfair.
“I’m outraged,” said Lateefah Joye. “It’s very outrageous. I’ve witnessed a lot of things cops have done. But what can you do? I’m not a violent person. I’m an athlete.”
“One of the most disturbing things about the video is the other cops standing around watching and doing nothing to stop the wrongdoing,” said Marinelli.
The NYPD is now investigating the incident.