Police brass defended the response, saying officers tried to help but couldn't get past an unruly crowd throwing bottles and other objects at them.
The incident happened around 7 pm. Sunday near 125th Street and Madison Avenue, where as many as five girls punched, kicked and shocked the victim (previously said to be 11 years old) with a stun gun.
The NY Post reported that officers sat idle in nearby cruisers and didn't intervene until after roughly four minutes, and that a photographer at the scene did not witness any projectiles being thrown.
The NYPD took to to social media to vehemently deny the published report, tweeting video of the crowd and saying the officers were prevented from reaching the young girl.
The department released video it says shows responding officers being pelted by bottles and other flying debris, forced, it appears, to back off, re-group, and wait for backup as a larger crowd advances toward them.
Despite one newspaper's account, our officers who came to the assistance of an 11-year-old girl being assaulted in Harlem on Sunday did not stand by. They were met by a large crowd that hurled projectiles at them and had to reposition, then called for additional officers. pic.twitter.com/aeZ1zNnqrJ— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) August 10, 2020
The victim was eventually taken to the hospital. She is said to be involved in an ongoing dispute with a group of like-aged young women, and police are looking for them.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also defending his officers in a tweet, writing, "Every day officers deal with the most difficult circumstances and do it with little fanfare. They don't ask for accolades but they deserve support. The culture of no consequences for criminal behavior is dangerous and must stop."
Every day officers deal with the most difficult circumstances and do it with little fanfare. They don’t ask for accolades but they deserve support. The culture of no consequences for criminal behavior is dangerous and must stop. https://t.co/FZeE6sTKxY— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) August 10, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the city itself and the NYPD specifically have weathered a perfect storm of factors in recent months -- but is bouncing back.
"We went through a very rough time," he said. "The question is always not how many times you are knocked down but how many times you get back up. And this whole city is getting back up. No question in my mind the NYPD will turn the corner on these problems, as they have man times before."
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There are no arrests at this time, and the investigation is active and ongoing.
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