Police continue to exhibit their lack of a chill button in 2015. The latest incident in question occurred in snowy New Rochelle, NY, where a couple of neighborhood teens wound up on the other end of an officer’s handgun.
Last Friday afternoon (Jan. 30) at Horton Avenue and DeWitt Place, Sgt. Joseph Salerno halted what appeared to be an innocent snowball fight by drawing his gun and pointing it at the teens involved. A video recording that has since gone viral shows two teens kneeling on the floor with their hands up and backs turned, with Salerno holding the gun out towards them saying “Don’t f-cking move.” Bystanders look on as he does so. “This group of guys was having a snowball fight, and now the cop has a gun on them,” said the woman behind the camera.
The video alone is enough to stir up angry emotions, but opposing reports on what was happening in those moments insist otherwise. Talk of the Sound reports that the officer was actually responding to a 911 emergency call reporting a man with a gun at that location and video of the teens—who happened to be African American—was “clever mischief.”
New Rochelle Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Murphy provided the New York Daily News with a statement. “There was no snowball fight,” he said. “We dispatched several cars to the area. Police officers got out of their cars and one of the individuals bent down, adjusted something in his waistband and ran. The group was compliant…the other cop is in foot pursuit of the suspect that had the gun. The suspect runs into an apartment house and into an unknown apartment.”
Murphy felt the video’s commentary skewed the story. “I think the [woman’s] comment about the snowball fight was edited in later on,” he told the New York Post.
Do you think the video is way out of context to determine the story? Or was the officer still way out of line?