NEW YORK (WPIX) — Two police officers on Long Island who were seen kicking a suspect multiple times while he was handcuffed on the ground have been suspended without pay and are under a criminal investigation, authorities said Tuesday.
At a news conference, Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart called the officers’ actions that were recorded Feb. 24 on body camera footage “concerning.”
“What is equally unacceptable is the number of officers who did not intervene, which is a direct violation of our rules and procedures,” Hart said.
District Attorney Timothy Sini’s office is conducting the criminal investigation.
Hart said three other officers at the scene, including a supervisor, have been placed on modified duty and could also be disciplined after a hearing.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone noted at the briefing that he would not pass any police-reform plan that did not include body cameras.
Police said it all started when suspect Christopher Cruz stole a Jeep from the driveway of a residence in Port Jefferson Station around 11:40 p.m. on Feb. 23.
Officers in an unmarked police vehicle saw the stolen Jeep pull into a parking lot in Coram just after midnight, officials said.
When responding officers in marked police vehicles arrived at the scene moments later, Cruz rammed the Jeep into one of the police vehicles, injuring an officer before fleeing the scene, authorities said.
According to police, Cruz lost control of the Jeep and crashed into a snow bank in Mount Sinai a short time later.
When officers arrived, Cruz again rammed the Jeep into a second police vehicle and attempted to drive away before crashing into another snowbank and coming to a stop at about 12:15 a.m., officials said.
Cruz was subsequently arrested. What happened next was captured on an officer’s bodycam.
While Cruz was standing up and in handcuffs, an officer pushed him forward from behind and kicked the back of his leg, officials said.
While Cruz was on the ground, that officer and another then kicked him multiple times, authorities said.
According to officials, the suspect was transported to a local hospital where he declined medical attention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.