A Brooklyn woman answered the door in a towel, only to be dragged into the hallway by a dozen male police officers, a video obtained by NY1 shows.
The video shows 48-year-old Denise Stewart struggling to get away from the cops, yelling, “I can’t breathe” as they hold her against the wall. Stewart, who has severe asthma, passed out and dropped to the floor wearing nothing but underwear. Officers stood around, not bothering to cover her up, for about two minutes.
Officers say they received a call to the apartment building without a specific apartment number and heard noise coming from Stewart’s apartment. Stewart’s lawyer told the New York Daily News the 911 call came from an apartment on a different floor.
Stewart’s family was also arrested, and they claim her four-year-old grandson was even pepper-sprayed. The NYPD says Stewart’s 12-year-old daughter had bruises on her face and told police her mother and sister beat her with a belt, but other sources told NY1 the Administration for Children’s Services found no evidence that this was true and returned her to her mother.
Even after newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton vowed to reform the NYPD, officers have been caught in a number of abuses. The debacle at Stewart’s apartment on July 13 was soon followed by the death of Eric Garner, an asthmatic man who collapsed after NYPD officers put him in a chokehold and ignored his attempts to tell them he could not breathe. Days later, a video surfaced of a cop punching a man in a subway station and putting him in a chokehold. The NYPD made headlines once again last week when another video showed officers putting a pregnant woman in a chokehold for illegally grilling on the sidewalk.