The video of an NYPD officer bodyslamming a young man in the subway has set off quite the debate: Was the officer justified in his actions, or was he over the line?
Here are the facts: The officer, Michael O’Brien, says he caught the man, 19-year-old Sean Pagan, evading a subway fare, and when O’Brien confronted Pagan and subsequently tried to arrest the young man, Pagan resisted. That’s when the O’Brien used a physical tactic to subdue Pagan. In the video, Pagan can be seen still trying to resist. In fact, he even ripped a subway ad off the wall while trying to hold on. And as is the case nowadays, there were several people around with cameras (content warning for language):
Pagan, not surprisingly, thinks O’Brien went too far.
“I was just in shock he really did that,” Pagan told the New York Daily News. “I’m sure there are other kids who got the same treatment or worse treatment that wasn’t recorded.”
But not everyone agrees. An editorial in the Daily News praises the cop for his restraint:
He has not used a nightstick, pepper spray or a gun. He has not punched or kicked Pagan. He has not shown the slightest emotion or panic.
What O’Brien has done is what he was trained to do: He has made an arrest by taking control of a person who had tried to run and who then showed resistance, forcing two takedowns and brief bodily restraint.
All by the book, as O’Brien was trained to do.
And according to the Daily News, Pagan’s infractions go beyond just evading a fare. He was charged with theft of services, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, making graffiti and trespassing.
So what do you think? Watch the video again and take the poll: