Street vendor says he was beaten by police in Brooklyn

Joe Torres Image
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Street vendor claims police brutality
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Joe Torres reports from Sunset Park.

SUNSET PARK (WABC) -- A street vendor in Brooklyn says he was the victim of New York police brutality.

The whole thing was caught on camera. His sisters came to help him and they were arrested too.

Now, one of the cops has been suspended.

"I'm just scared. Yes, I'm scared," said Jonathan Daza, a street vendor.

Cell phone video shows police arresting the 22-year-old street vendor Sunday night at the close of the 5th Avenue Street Festival in Sunset Park.

Cops asked vendors to clear the street and when the clean-up work didn't move fast enough, conditions escalated.

"They threw me and they started hitting me. They kicked me, they hit me in my head, they kicked me in my back, around my back, then one guy punched me in my face," Daza said.

Cops also arrested Wendy and Cindy Daza. They came to the aid of their brother, who uttered the same infamous words as Eric Garner, who this summer died in police custody from an apparent chokehold.

"He said that he couldn't breathe anymore. So I got scared, and I saw on the news last time the guy, yeah, he got hurt and he died. And you know, I don't want that to happen to my brother," Cindy Daza said.

"I don't even feel safe to come outside to the street because the people that are protecting us are the people that are hurting us," Wendy Daza said.

But it was the footage of a police officer kicking Jonathan Daza that led Commissioner William Bratton to suspend the cop for 30 days.

"Suspension in this department means he has been relieved of his gun and his badge and his police duties and was assigned home. He's not on modified assignment, where he would be working at a desk," Police Commissioner William Bratton said.

"The culture of the police department, I think that culture must change. I think this officer should be sent back for training, sensitivity," said Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (D) Brooklyn.

"We are talking about a predominantly Latino-Asian community and we don't see officers that reflect what we look like or who we are, that understand the culture and the people," said Dennis Flores, a community activist.

Commissioner Bratton also said he wants a town hall meeting with community leaders and politicians to discuss what happened; a meeting many there will tell you is long overdue.