A video that shows a police officer striking a woman in the head during an arrest in Far Rockaway, Queens, Monday morning is sparking outrage online.
Gerald Graham said he took the video on his cellphone around 9:30 a.m. as the two officers were standing inside the Mott Avenue train station with his friend Dayquana Livingston.
About five minutes into the video, one of the officers moves to arrest Livingston, 20, as Graham shouts for an explanation for why she’s being detained. Livingston can be seen resisting arrest and at one point pushes an officer.
During the arrest, one of the officers, whose badge identifies her as DER Rosario, is seen in the video striking Livingston in the head multiple times. Eventually, more NYPD officers arrive on the scene and back Graham away from the arrest.
An NYPD spokeswoman said the officers spotted Livingston entering the station through an emergency gate without paying the fare. When they ran her identification in the NYPD’s system, the officers found she had an active warrant and attempted to take her into custody, per the spokeswoman.
Graham said he was told by a station agent that Livingston could go through the gate to speak to the officers. In the video he’s heard accusing the officers of hiding from them.
“I said, ‘miss,’ because I was going to ask you if she could come through. And you see me and you peeked out and then popped away just like that,” he says in the video. “We were told to come here and ask an officer and ya’ll are up here hiding, because you want to give tickets.”
The video posted to Graham’s Facebook page has been shared over 500 times, as of Tuesday morning. Many people commenting on Graham’s video post expressed outrage over the officers’ actions.
Livingston, of Queens, was charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and theft of service. A supervisor responded to the scene and the use of force was documented and has been investigated, police said.
In 2018, the NYPD instituted a new fare evasion policy that favors issuing a summons rather than making an arrest, even if the person has a previous open summons. However, the policy still allows for officers to make an arrest if the person has an open misdemeanor or felony warrant.
(Disclosure: Graham was the subject of an amNewYork feature in August.)