A pair of NYPD officers were indicted Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old boy in August, knocking his teeth out, in an incident caught on video.
This is the first indictment against an NYPD officer for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who took office this year.
The two officers, David Afanador, 33, and Tyrane Isaac, 36, allegedly attacked the teen while on-duty at about 2:20 a.m., according to the indictment. Isaac and Afanador pleaded not guilty at their short arraignment in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday afternoon and were released without bail.
"We moved with due deliberate speed here because it was such an important case," Thompson said. "We had a 16-year-old boy with his hands up seeking to surrender who was attacked by members of the force who are supposed to protect him."
The officers allegedly saw the teen, Kaheem Tribble, toss a bag of marijuana and run on Aug. 29, according to the Brooklyn DA's office.
Video surveillance of the incident, which Thompson said was obtained by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, shows Isaac catching up to Tribble and throwing a punch. Tribble appears to fall back just before Afanador runs up and allegedly strikes Tribble in the mouth with his gun.
Shortly after, the video shows Isaac allegedly punching Tribble several times on St. John's Place.
"There was no reason why Officer Afanador should have hit Kaheem Tribble in the mouth with his gun," Thompson said. "Imagine if his gun discharged."
At least two of Tribble's teeth were knocked out during the encounter, Thompson said. Tribble was brought to central booking before going to the hospital.
Afanador was charged with felony second-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and official misconduct. Isaac was charged with misdemeanor assault and official misconduct. If convicted, Affanador faces up to seven years, Thompson said.
"These officers are performing their job -- it's 2 o clock in the morning, this is a physically larger individual who, contrary to what others have said and I've read, is not compliant with the police officers at any time," said Stephen Worth, who represented both officers at the arraignment. "At first glance the video is always hard to watch. What the jury needs and what the jury will get is context."
A second video does exist, Thompson said, but it doesn't show much.
Isaac and Afanador each have nine years with the department, Worth said. Both will be suspended for 30 days before being placed on modified duty, he said.
Tribble's lawyer, Amy Rameau, said Tribble didn't deserve to be attacked. His family, who were in court Wednesday, just want justice for their son, he said.
"They've already started to try and destroy his reputation with false allegations," she said. "He's just a kid, he's only 16 years old. It should never come to this. It should not happen."
Tribble was initially charged with possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, she said, but those charges were dropped.
"It's not a crime to run away if you're being chased and you're scared, that is not a crime," Rameau said. "What they did is a crime. They're the criminals here, this is not about Kaheem. It's about the officers who victimized him." Rameau plans on suing the officers and the city.
Thompson said he doesn't condone anyone running from officers who tell them to stop, but that the case is about the actions of these two officers.
"What these two officers did on that tape does not reflect all New York City police officers, clearly," Thompson said. "This was something that we looked at very thoroughly, we talked to a number of witnesses and we charged appropriately."
A spokeswoman for the NYPD referred all inquiries to the Brooklyn DA's office.
The next court appearance for both officers is Dec. 8. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, chief of the DA's civil rights bureau.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson as a former cop.