A pair of New York Fire Department EMTs say they had to stop four police officers from beating a patient handcuffed to a stretcher, a report filed with the FDNY says. The incident occurred on July 20, documents obtained by the New York Daily News note. The EMTs said the patient was punched several times by the officers and the attack was halted when they stepped in.
The EMTs responded to a call at the Brooklyn 67th Precinct station to transport a patient to a local hospital, the report said. When the Emergency Service Unit officers arrived, they tried to place the patient in restraints so EMTs could take him to the hospital. The patient began banging his head against the wall.
"Pt. came out of the cell in cuffs. Pt. became combative with PD and (was) put on our stretcher," an EMT wrote in the Unusual Occurrence Report. "Pt. was struck in the face by an officer. ... Pt. spit in the face of an officer, whereupon the officer punched the pt. in the face multiple times."
After the patient spit on the officer a second time, the EMT writes three officers “began to punch the patient in the face” and “EMS [had] to get in the middle of it to intervene.” Once the situation was diffused, the report says the EMTs cleaned the patients “wounds and injuries” in the ambulance.
The second EMT wrote in a statement the officers pulled the patient off the stretcher onto the ground and then threw him back on the stretcher following the first series of punches. That EMT also said the patient was hit in the face numerous times after he spit at officers.
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The NYPD said the incident is being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.
In the past few weeks, the NYPD has faced some intense questions regarding the use of excessive force by its officers during arrests.
NYPD Officer Joel Edouard was recently placed on modified assignment after cellphone video was released showing him apparently stomping on suspect Jahmiel Cuffee's head during his arrest earlier in the week. Eric Garner, 43, died while being arrested by NYPD officers July 17. He was placed in a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo during the arrest and became unresponsive as he was being forced to the ground.
Officials are also investigating an incident in which a NYPD officer appeared to place his arm around the neck of a 7-months-pregnant Rosan Miller, 27, as she was being arrested in Brooklyn last month. The East New York advocacy group People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect released images of that incident.