Video raises questions about officers' actions

February 4, 2009 6:12:29 PM PST
Eyewitness News has obtained video that raises serious questions about whether NYPD officers crossed the line when they arrested a Queens man on suspicion of selling drugs. Police internal affairs investigators are now looking into the case. A police source says that disciplinary action is expected to be taken against at least one officer.

The video shows a handcuffed 19-year-old Russell Smith lying on the ground, surrounded by plainclothes officers. Then one of them walks over and kicks Smith directly in the groin before stepping away.

Wallace: "How do you look at the fact he may have kicked you out of the blue?"
Smith: "It's not right. I didn't deserve it. Kicked me right in my private parts."

The controversial incident happened at a corner in Far Rockaway on October 29. Smith says he was driving his parents' car with a friend. They stopped at a convenience store, where Smith claims that, all of a sudden, plainclothes cops grabbed him out of the car.

"They just told me to freeze and don't move," he said.

A criminal complaint indicates narcotics cops thought Smith was making a drug deal. A detective claimed the teenager tried to dive under the driver's seat.

Smith denies he was selling marijuana or anything else.

Wallace: "Just to clarify, you did have pot? But that was for your personal use?"
Smith: "Yeah."

Smith claims he was handcuffed and repeatedly punched in the face, which cannot be seen on the video. What you can see is Smith on the ground on his back.

Smith was charged with possession and sale of a controlled substance, as well as resisting arrest. Bail was set at $25,000. He says he has never been locked up before.