NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – A viral video of a New Rochelle police officer drawing his gun and shouting profanity at a group of teenagers having a snowball fight that drew national attention over the weekend needs to be taken in context, according to Mayor Noam Bramson.
According to Bramson, on Friday afternoon, police responded to an emergency call in the area after it was reported that a group of teenagers was walking in the neighborhood and one of them had a gun sticking out of his pants.
When the officers answered the call and approached the group, which matched the description of the suspects, one reached for his waistband, prompting police to draw their weapons, and the teen ran.
One officer pursued the runner – whose location is currently under investigation – while the other ordered the rest of the group to the ground and patted them down, which has been captured on video.
“What looks at first like a dramatic example of police overreach turns out instead to be a reasonable response to a fast-moving, unpredictable and potentially very dangerous situation,” Bramson noted. “There’s a saying that a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth gets its running shoes on. In the age of the Internet, even that is an underestimate.”
The entire incident is being reviewed by police officials.
In the video, an officer clearly has his gun pointed at one of the teens while he frisked him with the other hand. He warns the group not to move, using salacious language, while the woman making the cell phone recording makes note that they were only having a snowball fight.
Although the video, from Talk of the Sound , paints a poor picture of the police at first glance, Bramson said that he believed there were lessons to be learned from the ugly incident. He noted that it’s important to wait for all of the facts to come out before drawing a conclusion, and that the police and community need to work together to avoid another instance such as this.
“The degree to which the video struck a nerve illustrates the persistent and difficult issues of trust that still exist between the police, and portions of many communities,” he said.
“I think both the Police Department and local leaders should be proud of addressing this challenge more effectively in New Rochelle than in most places, but it’s a mission that requires ongoing commitment and, when appropriate, openness to constructive criticism and change.”
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