Once again, an unarmed (and surrendering) black man is beaten by the NYPD.
A video taken on July 7 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is surfacing courtesy of The New York Daily News of Thomas Jennings, a 24-year-old hip-hop artist who was beaten with a baton and punched in a grocery store by two NYPD officers. Allegedly, the reason for his arrest was because he stole pizza with an unknown man at a New York Fried Chicken on Saratoga Avenue.
The two men got into a scuffle with store employees over the price of the pizza, which was three dollars. Jennings told The Daily News that he was a dollar short and went outside to see if he could borrow the money. However, the criminal accusations state that the unidentified man pulled out a switchblade knife, and told the restaurant workers that he was not paying for the pizza. Then, the two proceeded to take the food and salt-and-pepper shakers and fled the scene.
Minutes later, 911 was called, and the cops tracked down Jennings at Roslin grocery store on Bainbridge St. In the video, Officer Lenny Lutchmam with a baton in his right hand, as he pushes Jennings in the chest. Later, as Jennings is evidently surrendering, Officer Pearce Martinez barges onto Jennings and punches him three times in the head.
“I didn’t ever know it was coming,” Jennings said.
“It’s horrendous what they did to him,” continued Jenning’s lawyer Amy Rameau. “He had his hands up. He didn’t pose a threat to anyone in that store. It was an absolute use of excessive force.”
Still, Jennings was charged with Robbery and held without bail until July 13 when he was released when the District Attorney’s office did not impose the case on the grand jury. A spokesperson from the D.A.’s office said the entire case is under investigation. Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson’s office is also investigating the attack. A police spokesperson said on Tuesday (July 21) that The NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is reviewing the case.
Further details for this case are still pending.