The parents of 15-year old Benjamin Marshall insist that their innocent boy did absolutely nothing wrong.
A New York teenager is suing the city and its police department, saying an NYPD detective punched him in the face unprompted.
According to NBC New York, the suit was filed by 15-year old Benjamin Marshall and his parents, together represented by attorney Sanford Rubenstein. Their complaint was submitted to Family Court in Brooklyn on Wednesday.
While Marshall didn’t speak at the hearing Wednesday, his parents spoke vigorously on his behalf. Marshall was allegedly looking for a lost backpack when a fight broke out at a subway station. The teenager, caught amidst the brawl, was hit by a cop who mistook him for an assailant.
“They are there to protect and serve us, not the other way around” said Marshall’s father, Anthony Noel. “So I’m outraged right now.”
The incident was captured on video, which went viral after being posted online.
NBC New York notes that the fight broke out at the Jay Street-MetroTech Station in Brooklyn last Friday. It involved “groups of teens,” as well as several NYPD officers.
Not surprisingly, New York cops have rallied to their colleagues’ defense.
“Publicly available video does not show the entirety of the incident, and the department is conducting a review,” said the NYPD in a statement issued late last Sunday.
Although NBC New York’s recounting of the event is a little hazy, it suggests that the NYPD believes that a 15-year old first struck one of their officers. However, they didn’t identify Marshall as the suspect.
In total, five teenagers were arrested following the brawl. Three 18-year olds were charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, while a 16-year old girl is facing charges of reckless endangerment.
Marshall has also been charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.
Despite the NYPD’s divergent story, local politicians and activists criticized the NYPD and called for an impartial, expedient investigation.
“The officer who punched the two teens should immediately be placed on modified assignment until a complete investigation can be carried out,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “At best, his actions were off base and reflect poorly on the men and women of the NYPD.”
“I am also concerned about what led up to this melee,” Adams said. “Reports indicate a group of teens were assaulting a young lady, which led to a teen spraying mace throughout the station. We can’t have innocent people placed in harm’s way from police or civilians.”
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has opened an independent investigation.