Case Against Jateik Reed, Teen Brutally Beaten by NYPD, Dismissed -- Cops Fabricated Charges to Cover Abuse
Tuesday at Bronx Criminal Court, prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to prove that Jateik Reed, the nineteen-year-old whose brutal beating by the NYPD was caught on tape this January, was guilty of drug and assault charges. The dismissed case included seven charges related to assaulting police, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of marijuana, menacing, and harassment.
Officers said they stopped Reed after seeing him drop drugs, and that Reed proceeded to punch and head butt an officer. But according to Reed's defense, video (not yet released to the public) from cameras out front of the Bronx building where the beating occurred clearly shows that Reed did not strike police, or drop drugs. The entire incident, they told me, stemmed from a racially motivated stop-and-frisk.
"What speaks for itself is video," Reed's attorney Michael Warren told me, "Not only does it capture the beating itself, and the nature of the beating, but it also captures the activity of Mr. Reed and two of his friends as they were walking to the building."
Warren said the video "clearly indicates two things."
"Number one," he said, "That it was a racially contextual stop, because they weren't involved with any criminal activity whatsoever."
Number two, he said, is that the drugs police charged Reed with possessing "are a package that the officer picked up off the ground. If you look at the video, nobody -- none of [Jateik's friends] threw anything on the ground."
Warren said the two bags containing what police said was a residual amount of crack cocaine, and marijuana, were left on the ground by someone other than Reed and his friends, "or it was placed there by the officers."
"Their whole story," Reed's other attorney, Gideon Orion Oliver tod me, "is a typical narrative of a stop-and-frisk case." Orion said video evidence "makes it clear that the police story is a total fabrication, and makes it even more clear that the way they brutally beat him was totally unjustified. It’s great that the District Attorney’s office did the right thing eventually, in terms of dismissing the charges in this case. It remains to be seen whether they’re investigating the police who beat him, which of course, they should do."
Warren added that the "bad arrest" is "indicative of thousands of arrests that are made in the black and Latino community in this city, and cities across the country, based on racial profiling." Reed's friends and neighbors recently told me that they are regularly stopped-and-frisked for simply walking down the street, and are often arrested for "bogus charges," like trespassing in their own buildings.
Warren said that Reed's assault charges were also not supported by video evidence.
"The allegation is that he struck one of the officers," said Warren, "when you look at the video, it clearly does not indicate that."
"They had him up agaisnt the van, twisting his arm," said Warren, "You could see that he was in pain." Warren said that as police twisted Reed's arms to handcuff him, Jateik responded in a way that "anybody would have done, which was to try to alleviate the pain. He tried to do it by moving forward, and as he moved forward, they proceeded to beat him." Reed told me the stop-and-frisk turned violent when when he threatened to file a complaint to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
"They told me they don’t care about a lawsuit," said Reed, "My brother has a complaint against them already, and they keep bugging us."
While the dismissal today was a huge victory for Reed, he still has other charges hanging over his head. The day after Reed's January 26th arrest and beating, police charged with him a robbery that occurred on January 20th. Schuan Reed, Jateik's mother, told me Jateik was in Brooklyn the day the robbery occurred. The case dismissed today, as well as the video evidence, may help to defend Reed against these charges.
"We are going to be able to argue, as we believe, that those charges are pretextual, and that that case was filed to provide cover for the beating case," Oliver told me. If the DA does not investigate the case, Reed's attorneys said they are prepared to go trial. Reed is scheduled to appear in court for the robbery charges in late April. For now, however, he is happy that the assault and drug charges were dropped, and is hoping for the best.
"It was all false allegations," said Reed, "I’m thankful this case got dropped, and I hope my next case does too.”
"Thank you everybody that supported me," he added, "I really appreciate it. I hope we get to meet some day."
Reed and his family say the cops who beat him need to be held accountable, and believe increased police supervision could prevent something like this from happening to another black youth. Reed's attorneys have requested a special prosecutor to investigate the police involved in the beating, but have not heard a response from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Read more about Reed's arrest, and the aggressive policing tactics that led to his beating, here.