VIDEO: Officer pulls gun in snowball fight

May 20, 2010 5:07:01 AM PDT
Surveillance video has been released of an off-duty NYPD officer pulling out his gun during a snowball fight. "We're innocent, we didn't do nothing wrong and he overreacted," 18-year-old Ariel Lopez said.

Lopez and four of his closest friends watched the surveillance video and relived the moment when an NYPD officer pulled his gun on them, over a snowball.

"I felt that at that moment one of us was going to get killed or shot," 18-year-old Minuel Rondon said.

None of the five young men have ever been in trouble before.

On February 26th, one of the teen's snowball hit off-duty transit officer Andonis Ramirez in the leg.

The surveillance video shows Ramirez storming back to the young men.

Within seconds, he pulled out his gun and ordered the teens to kneel against the fence.

"He had our lives in his hands and we were just scared," 19-year-old Christian Perez said.

Ramirez made a 911 call and can be heard ordering the teens around.

"Get your hands out of your pockets, let me see your hands. Don't turn around, do not turn around. Do not move, do not move. You brought this upon yourself, you want to be a d***?" Ramirez said in the 911 audio.

Backup soon arrived and the five young men were handcuffed and placed in patrol cars.

They spent the next day and a half in jail.

They eventually faced charges of attempted assault, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon, the snowball.

Ramirez said in the criminal complaint that the teens threatened to jump him.

"He said he was chased down the block, not true, he said he was hit by multiple snowballs, not true. The officer's story is a complete fabrication and the video doesn't lie," attorney Neil Wollenstein said.

Two surveillance cameras on the outside of a nearby building caught the whole confrontation on tape.

But it took almost three months for investigators to turn it over to the accused young men and their lawyer.

The charges were dropped earlier this month, but the teens and their lawyer plan to sue the city for $10 million.


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