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. 169th St. and Broadway subway stop on Tuesday.
Grissom, 36, and Sidney Williams, 37, are recorded flat-out 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.
As Grissom and the officers verbally spar, one cop is overheard saying “Shut the f— up,” the video shows.
“Make me shut up,” Grissom replies.
With that, one of the officers moves to either grab or punch Grissom, sparking a brief fight and a stand off.
At no time did the cop say Grissom was under arrest, getting a summons or demand his ID.
“(The cop) threw the first punch,” a law enforcement source who saw the recording said. “When you are going to arrest someone you go for the arms. It looks like this guy went for the head.”
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 when an officer stepped in to arrest him.
“One of the cops made a decision to arrest Mr. Grissom and Mr. Williams and Grissom decided he was going to punch a cop and you can’t punch a cop,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill explained on the Joe Piscopo show on his AM 970 radio show Friday. “You can’t fight a cop and you can’t resist arrest.”
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 stairs leading to the station.
A cellphone 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.
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.
At Grissom’s arraignment Thursday night in Manhattan Criminal Court, Judge Althea Drysdale granted the DA’s request that he be released without bail, with a order of protection barring him from entering the subway station. He is charged with assault, attempted assault, and resisting arrest.