Cops smashed a handcuffed fourteen-year-old through a storefront window in the Bronx Saturday night, nearly killing him.
The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reports that Javier Payne suffered cuts to his face, his chest, and a punctured lung from being shoved into the window of the Hookah Shop. Paramedics had to hold Payne’s chest closed as he was rushed to the hospital — though they did not arrive on scene immediately because police called it in with a protocol used for drunks, not for a pediatric emergency.
Payne was arrested that night with another teenager on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, and assault. While it’s not clear what the circumstances surrounding the arrest were, police often use these kinds of charges to discredit or obscure accusations of brutality. The report filed by the officers made no mention of the window smashing.
After hours of surgery, Payne’s mother was allowed to see her son. “Mommy, Mommy,” he said. “The cop, he pushed my head through the window while I was handcuffed, Mommy, he pushed my head through the window.”
JJIE interviewed Hookah Shop owner Nageib Aldaylam, who said the two boys visited the shop, but nothing untoward happened until the officers showed up and started questioning them. The boys argued with the officers until one of the cops smashed Payne through the window. Afterward, as Payne bled on the pavement, the cops asked Aldaylam if he had security footage, and if the boys had done anything when they entered the store. Aldayam said no.
Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a new day for the NYPD, speaking out against the force’s use of stop-and-frisk and racial profiling. Yet while stops have gone down, the department is still having trouble earning back minority communities’ trust. Last month, the NYPD attempted a re-branding social media effort, #myNYPD, inviting people to share positive experiences with the NYPD, but the hashtag was quickly hijacked to highlight a slew of alleged abuses by officers. For instance, a few weeks after de Blasio took office, police faced accusations of beating an 84-year-old man for jaywalking, to the point where he was hospitalized.
Though Payne’s mother says the NYPD is conducting an internal investigation of the officers in question, cops rarely face disciplinary action for complaints of misconduct. One analysis of the Chicago Police Department found that just 19 out of 10,149 complaints led to a suspension of a week or more. It’s even harder to successfully bring criminal charges against a cop; law enforcement officers accused of misconduct are much less likely to be charged than a civilian, and a fraction of those who are charged actually get convicted. In an effort to make misconduct proceedings more fair, New York city officials transferred investigations from the NYPD to an independent civilian review board two years ago, but the board has been largely ignored and ineffective.