The video shows a police officer striding toward a young man standing on a platform at the 45th Street subway station in Brooklyn. A few seconds later, the officer pats him down. Shortly afterward, the young man appears to fidget against a wall and the officer slams him to the ground, ripping a subway ad from the wall in the process. The officer does it again, then puts the young man in a headlock and handcuffs him.
That scene was captured by David Galarza, a local activist, who said he recorded it last Thursday night. At a news conference on Thursday in Brooklyn, Mr. Galarza and other local activists said the officer’s confrontation with the young man, Sean Pagan, 19, was another example of the police’s mistreatment of the predominantly Hispanic and Asian residents of Sunset Park.
This time, however, they say they have a video to support their contention.
“These are young people of color who are victimized many times, and this kind of excessive force, sometimes it’s captured, sometimes not,” Mr. Galarza said before screening the video for reporters at a Latino community center in Sunset Park. “There was an arrest of a young man, but not of the officer who did the groping, and who did the choking.”
Mr. Galarza said he had witnessed many instances of police violence, so he instinctively pulled out his phone to film when he saw the officer approaching Mr. Pagan, who works at a clothing factory nearby. Mr. Pagan said he was waiting for the train to Coney Island when the officer told him to put his hands against the wall. The officer searched him, he said, and then Mr. Pagan found himself on the ground.
Mr. Pagan said he did not know why he had been stopped in the first place, but a police spokesman said Mr. Pagan had entered the subway station without paying, then refused to show the officer his identification and resisted arrest. He was charged with theft of services and resisting arrest. According to the police, Mr. Pagan had been arrested nine times prior to last Thursday and once since then, for offenses including criminal mischief, creating graffiti, intent to damage property, telephone harassment and criminal contempt.
Mr. Pagan, who is Hispanic, said the officers at the precinct house where he was taken joked and laughed about his body-slamming.
Without the video, he said, he would not have known how to draw attention to his arrest. Even his mother did not believe his story until she saw the video, he said.
“It would’ve been his word over mine,” he said. “He would’ve said I was resisting and going crazy. It would’ve been brushed under the rug.”
The Rev. Samuel Cruz, a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sunset Park, said he had spoken with a public relations officer at the 72nd police precinct house about the episode. But he said it seemed clear that the officer was not going to look into the matter. Mr. Pagan’s lawyer, David Rankin, said Thursday that they had not yet decided what action to pursue, if any.
During the news conference, Mr. Galarza and Mr. Cruz spoke against what they called police brutality and the atmosphere of fear they say it has created in Sunset Park. Mr. Cruz said he would give video cameras to members of his congregation so they, too, could record evidence of police misconduct.
They, like other activists across the city, have criticized the Police Department’s so-called stop-and-frisk practice for disproportionately targeting young minority men, like Mr. Pagan. In recent months, attention to the issue has grown, and last month thousands of people took part in a silent march to protest the tactic. But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg contends it has contributed to a reduction in crime.
Mr. Pagan said he had been stopped and frisked about five times before.
Mr. Rankin insisted that his client had complied with the officer’s search. “There was no reason for this officer to do this invasive of a search at all,” he said. “From that overreaching, even just a twitch results in two body slams to the floor.”