By Joe Anuta
A southeast Queens lawyer running for City Council held a news conference Tuesday to denounce the NYPD for what he said was excessive force when officers from the 109th Precinct in Flushing arrested a teenager.
Jacques Leandre, who is running for the Council seat recently vacated by now-state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Jamaica), is defending 19-year-old Robert Jackson, who was arrested Jan. 8 and charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct, according to the Queens district attorney.
A video of the arrest, recorded on an anonymous bystander’s cellphone, begins as two officers have Jackson on the ground outside the Flushing YMCA on Northern Boulevard and are attempting to arrest him. At least two of the officers strike Jackson as bystanders yell and within a minute a crowd of other officers run over, obscuring the view of Jackson, and the video ends.
“This unfortunate incident conducted by the police officers we pay to protect us is reprehensible and unacceptable,” Leandre said. “We will aggressively defend Robert Jackson and call on assistant [sic] District Attorney Richard Brown to immediately dismiss the charges.”
The incident was first reported by TimesLedger Newspapers Jan. 17.
Leandre and Jackson are supported by community leaders, including Bishop Charles Norris, and The Queens National Action Network and the Jamaica-and Northeast Queens branches of the NAACP.
The incident is being handled by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a body that takes complaints against police, and the NYPD did not have a comment.
Jackson is part of a program at the YMCA called YouthBuild, which helps young men and women get their GED.
The teenager has been arrested four times before, and in one instance was in possession of a gun and a knife, police sources said.
According to the DA, on Jan. 8 Jackson began yelling profanities and acting violently while officers were questioning two other youngsters nearby. Jackson then refused to comply with the officers’ orders and resisted arrest, attempting to bite one of the officers, the DA said.
But Leandre contends that Jackson was brutalized while being held defenseless on the sidewalk, which left him with abrasions on his face, and called on the DA to drop the charges against him. He appeared at the news conference with a healing wound on his left cheek.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.