By Joe Anuta
Members of the NAACP from around the borough protested the controversial January arrest of a black teenager and the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy in Flushing Monday.
About 20 people stood on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Bowne Street, near the site of 19-year-old Robert Jackson’s arrest, part of which was captured on a cellphone video that went viral.
“I’m still dealing with it today,” Jackson said. “I’m still trying to understand why it happened.”
NAACP members held up signs of Jackson’s face showing where the skin had been scraped off his cheek following what his lawyer, Jacques Leandre, called a brutal and unwarranted apprehension.
“We stand in solidarity with the NAACP to protest the police conduct … but not only for Robert Jackson, we’re talking about New York City and really around the country, police brutality has to stop,” Leandre said.
The lawyer, who recently ran for a southeast Queens City Council seat, said the Queens district attorney is investigating the case.
The NYPD did not comment, since the matter is under investigation by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a body that investigates complaints against police officers.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the DA, Jackson was yelling and acting violently as officers were trying to arrest two other youngsters outside the YMCA Jan. 8.
Jackson did not take out his identification as the officers asked and then resisted arrest, attempting to bite a member of the NYPD, according to the complaint.
It was not clear what transpired before Jackson’s arrest. The video that was posted to worldstarhiphop.com begins when Jackson is already on the ground. Two officers are attempting to handcuff him as Jackson yells. At least two of the officers appear to strike Jackson and knee him while he is on the ground before a crowd of other officers run over and the video ends.
Police sources said Jackson could have avoided his injuries if he had just put his hands behind his back as the officers had directed him to do.
Jackson has four prior arrests, according to police, including one instance where he was allegedly cuffed with a knife and a gun on his person.
In court Wednesday, the district attorney requested more time to investigate the incident, according to Leandre.
Ken Cohen, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of northeast Queens, said community leaders, including 109th Precinct brass, turned a blind eye.
“We have not heard an outcry from the elected officials of northeast Queens and we are outraged by that,” he said. “If this was an individual that was caught on YouTube in an assault, everybody would have asked for the police to step up and make an arrest. Unfortunately, the people who did the assaulting had a badge, had a gun, had a uniform.”
Leroy Gadsden, president of the Jamaica NAACP, said Jackson’s arrest exemplified the worst outcomes of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. The legality of that initiative is currently being decided in federal court.
“The police actions that afternoon not only violated departmental policy, they violated the law. Both state and federal law,” he said.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.