It’s been two months since 19-year-old Robert Jackson was allegedly brutalized by police around the corner from the 109th Precinct.
The incident, recorded on a cellphone, took place in front of the Flushing YMCA. Jackson was arrested for obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.
But none of the offenses justified the beating he got.
The arrest took place Jan. 8 and was reported in this paper Jan. 17. The Civilian Complaint Review Board is reportedly looking into the incident involving a half dozen or more officers.
Why the delay? Have they been suspended or put on restricted duty until the events captured in two videos can be explained?
Jacques Leandre, who was defeated in his run last month for City Council, is defending Jackson.
“This unfortunate incident conducted by the police officers we pay to protect us is reprehensible and unacceptable,” Leandre said.
He has asked District Attorney Richard Brown to dismiss the charges against his client.
Brown says Jackson was yelling profanities and acting violently while officers were questioning two other youngsters nearby.
Yelling profanities is not a crime and, in the unedited videos, the only people acting violently were the police.
Jackson is part of a program at the YMCA called YouthBuild, created to help young men and women get their GED and then a job.
Police sources told the press that Jackson had been arrested four times before, and in one instance was in possession of a gun and a knife. But the police who were beating and kicking the helpless young man could not have known that.
In this space we have made been supportive of the NYPD, but the police have to be held to a higher standard than the average citizen.
If there is something that justified the beating Jackson was given, we’d like to hear it. If that many officers can’t handcuff and subdue a young man without that level of force, then they need to be retrained or fired.
The incident has damaged the relationship between the police and the young people who watched in dismay as the beating took place and the thousands more who have watched the videos online.