New York Daily News

Thursday, July 23, 2015, 4:21 PM

  

 

NYPD cops caught on video beating alleged pizza thief taken off the street 

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, JOHN MARZULLI

The NYPD cops under investigation for the videotaped beat down of a Brooklyn man with his hands raised in surrender have been stripped of their guns and badges, the Daily News has learned.

Officers Pearce Martinez and Lenny Lutchman of the 81st Precinct have been removed from street patrol as the investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau intensified Thursday.

The cops were caught on video pounding robbery suspect Thomas Jennings with their fists and a baton in a Bedford-Stuyvesant grocery store on July 7. The video, obtained by the Daily News, does not back up the cops' sworn claims that Jennings was resisting arrest and flailing his arms.

“Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson needs to prosecute the real criminals here, the cops who did this to my client,” said lawyer Amy Rameau.

Jennings, 24, was interviewed by investigators from IAB on Wednesday about the incident as well as a violent confrontation with cops last year that left him with a fractured eye socket.

He is suing the city and the cops in Brooklyn Federal Court in connection with that incident, which stemmed from him allegedly violating the terms of an ex-girlfriend's order of protection. A video reviewed by The News shows Jennings being dragged out of the lobby by cops, apparently unconscious.

Meanwhile, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch made his first public statement in defense of the cops.

"This suspect and another armed individual who is still being sought committed a crime," Lynch said.

"When identified by a complainant and confronted by police he ran and when caught, refused to comply with the officer's legal orders as they attempted to take him into custody.

"The arrestee is a career criminal with many prior arrests who is now resorting to the legal extortion of money through the courts by suing in several cases where he was arrested. If the crime didn't pay enough, the lawsuit might," Lynch said.

The owner of a Brooklyn fast food joint had accused Jennings and an unidentified man wielding a switchblade knife of refusing to pay for two slices of pizza and stealing salt-and-pepper shakers. Jennings contends he paid for the pizza and it was the during an argument with the owner that the other man knocked the shakers on the floor.

Prosecutors declined to present Jennings' robbery case to a grand jury and it will be dismissed, Rameau said.