The latest in unprovoked police brutality and the attempt to arrest the victim in New York that has gained national attention occurred this past Friday. After the early morning announcement by Mayor Bloomberg that the scheduled cleanup and eviction of the protesters at Zuccoti Park, now referred to by its original name Liberty Square, spontaneous marches in celebration took place.
Notoriously as the protesters made their first circle on their route police reacted with undue force. It was at this time that one of the observers from the National Lawyer's Guild was hit by an officer on a moped and when on the ground writhing in pain as the vehicle crushed his leg he was set upon by several officers and arrested.
At nearly the same point in time another incident of unprovoked police brutality was witnessed and documented on video which was shared throughout the world via YouTube. Felix Rivera-Pitre, a small and slender dancer from New York City, was arbitrarily singled out by a white-shirted ranking NYPD officer and violently punched in the face and then dragged to the ground.
The identity of the offending officer was not immediately known but the similarities of the act to another that took place on September 24th, just prior to the infamous first pepper-spraying incidedent of Detective Inspector Anthony Bologna, suggested the possible identity of the officer who delivered the punch.
Initial analysis of stills taken from the videos showed an officer with similar features but were not clear enough for a positive identification. The officer involved in the prior assault and battery on a young woman who was standing behind the orange netting and then arbitrarily singled out and attacked was Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona of the Elevent Transit Division of the NYPD.
The verification of this identification of this officer as the same in both incidents came with the publication of his name in a story in New York's Daily News on Saturday. According to police sources the officer who punched Rivera-Pitre was Detective Inspector Cardona (seen here in a photo identifying him as the perpetrator of the September 24th assault by his badge).
The attorney for Rivera-Pitre, Ron Kuby, stated that Cardona should be charged with assault.
Gothamist reports that NYPD is currently seeking to apprehend and arrest Rivera-Pitre. According to their story "NYPD spokesman Paul Browne claimed that Rivera-Pitre instigated the confrontation by attempting to elbow Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona in the face, and authorities want to charge Rivera-Pitre with attempted assault on a police officer, obstructing governmental justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct."
Given the clear evidence on video the official position of the NYPD is very troubling and brings to mind the initial statements of Chief Ray Kelly that Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's use of force was limited and justified. Later video evidence and slow-motion analysis proved that not only was Bologna's assault on a group of women unprovoked and unwarranted but that it was part of a pattern of behavior by Bologna who moments later indiscriminately pepper-sprayed several individuals, including reporters, a few yards down the street.
Those later revelations forced the NYPD to change its tune and call for an official investigation into Bologna's activities. Manhatten's District Attorney also came out, after the evidence of the second pepper-spraying, and announced that his office would be conducting an official investigation.
What was not given sufficient recognition at the time, however, was the role that Cardona played in the events that led up to the pepper-spraying incidents. Video evidence shows that in a similar act of unprovoked violence against a person merely present on the street to that which occurred this past Friday, Deputy Inspector Cardona singled out a young woman standing behind the orange netting in which she had been kettled along with the group of women who would later be targeted by Bologna.
He then violently reached across the barricade and grabbed the as yet unidentified woman, wearing a black T-Shirt, and grabbed her by the throat. He then pulled her to the ground by her hair and dragged her under the barricade into the street. It was this unprovoked assault by Cardona that set the group of women penned in screaming at the police on the scene to stop the violence.
Cardona is then seen in what appears to be an act of kicking the woman while she is pinned on the ground - an act which may also have occurred when Rivera-Pitre was taken to the ground this past Friday. She is then dragged into the street, where she lay in a puddle of water, and several officers descended upon her and aggressively arrested her.
This scene was caught on video by numerous observers and is shown in the videos below (unedited and in slow-motion) in a comparative compilation of three angles showing the unprovoked and violent nature of Cardona's assault. This attack by Cardona was documented in a diary on DailyKos, Prelude to Pepper-Spray Part 1, on October 1st and attempts were made to bring this to the attention of authorities.