New video has surfaced of the wild clash between police and two men in Washington Heights that ended with a brutal beatdown — and an NYPD investigation into excessive force.
The footage acquired by the Daily News — believed to be recorded by a police officer’s body camera — appears to show one of the cops lunging at Aaron Grissom after the two curse at each other at the entrance to the W. 168th St. and Broadway subway stop Tuesday.
Grissom, 36, and Sidney Williams, 37, are recorded refusing Police Officers Jeffrey Mota and Bramlin Rosa’s orders to move 100 feet away from the foot of the subway station stairs.
While Williams appears to be accommodating, Grissom won’t budge.
“Shut the f— up,” Grissom says, according to the video.
“Make me shut up,” one cop replies before one of the officers moves in to either grab or punch Grissom, sparking a brief fight and standoff.
At no time did the cop say Grissom was under arrest or getting a summons or demand his ID, according to the video.
“(The cop) threw the first punch,” said a law enforcement source who saw the recording. “When you are going to arrest someone, you go for the arms. It looks like this guy went for the head.”
high-ranking NYPD source said the cops were arguing with Grissom and Williams for five minutes before the video started. At one point one of the cops tells the two men, “You’re going under” — meaning under arrest.
“They were not complying with orders to disperse and started a heated exchange,” the NYPD official said. “Cops stepped in to effect the arrest.”
The clip ends where the original video begins — with the cops whipping out their batons and striking Williams in the head, neck and back.
The NYPD contends that Grissom threw the first punch.
Officers Mota and Rosa were on a fixed post responding to community concerns about vagrants when they heard about Grissom and Williams bothering people on the stairs leading to the station.
A cell phone video taken by a witness shows cops chasing Grissom by car and walloping him with a baton about 16 times. An NYPD detective can also be seen running over to help and kicks the 6-foot-4 suspect in the side.
Williams, who squared off with cops in an apparent attempt to defend Grissom, was struck in the face with the baton and suffered a broken nose.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Grissom’s criminal record includes arrests for prior clashes with police, and said he “makes his living” suing the Police Department.
The Internal Affairs Bureau is looking into the whether the baton use was within department guidelines.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office deferred charges against Williams while seeking assault charges against Grissom.
Grissom was freed without bail, with a order of protection barring him from entering the subway station. He is charged with assault, attempted assault, and resisting arrest.
Pat Lynch, the president of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, said the new video “clearly shows a perp refusing to to obey a lawful order from a police officer, then attacking that officer when he tries to arrest him.”
He was surprised, based on his viewing in the video, that anyone could claim that cops threw the first punch.
“This is exactly why these videos don’t belong in the public domain,” said Lynch, whose union is trying to block the release of NYPD body camera videos. “Even when all of the facts and the video evidence support the actions of police officers, the anti-cop crowd will still try to gaslight the public into thinking otherwise.”