VIDEO: NYPD Officer Under Investigation for Punching Out Teen Over a Cigarette

Another New York City police officer was under investigation on Wednesday for allegedly punching a 17-year-old boy who was already laying on the ground, WABC-TV reported.


The family of Marcel Hamer also filed a $5 million civil rights lawsuit against the police department and released video of Hamer’s encounter with the unidentified plainclothes officer on June 4. The 55-second clip begins with Hamer on the ground and being held by one arm by the officer, saying, “Mister, it was just a cigarette, sir. It was just a cigarette.”

The Brooklyn Paper reported that the incident began when the officer got out of his car after seeing Hamer, who was 16 years old at the time, smoking while walking down the street, and accused him of smoking marijuana. The camera moves just as the officer allegedly punches Hamer, but a loud thumping noise can be heard in the background. Hamer’s body appears to be limp for the remainder of the clip.

“Yeah, get it on film,” the officer can be heard saying, before being told by witnesses that Hamer was unconscious and asked to wake him up. The officer then attempts to lift Hamer before another man tries to rouse him.

The lawsuit contends that Hamer is still suffering the effects of the alleged blow.

“He’s been complaining of headaches, he’s been repeating a lot of things,” Hamer’s mother, Mary Hamer, told WABC. “He’s different.”

Officials said that the matter is being investigated by the internal affairs department at the city’s 88th precinct.

The footage was released a day after video surfaced of two officers from the 79th precinct hitting another teenager, 16-year-old Kahreem Tribble, with a pistol and a bag while arresting him on suspicion of marijuana possession.

Attorney and former state Supreme Court judge William Thompson, who is part of the team representing the Hamers, said the incident involving his client points to a “pervasive” culture within the NYPD.

“It is indicative of an attitude in the police department that is, ‘Them against us. Let’s do whatever we want,’” Thompson told WABC.

Watch WABC’s report, as aired on Wednesday, below.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.