While Gayle begs cops to tell him, “What crime did I commit? What did I do?” a handful of law enforcement officials drag him to the ground, punching, wrestling, and attacking him while he cries out for help. A bystander documented the entire encounter on her cell phone, later posting two videos of the incident on Twitter.
According to the Daily News, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the video shows some “disturbing points.” Most viewers seem to view that as a massive understatement given the brutality of the attack on a man whose only infraction may or may not have been smoking cannabis.
Cops took the victim to the 69th Precinct station house; charged him with resisting arrest, obstructing government administration, and possession of marijuana; and issued a summons for him to appear in court at a later date.
As long as cannabis is illegal, it will continue to be used to disenfranchise and abuse people of color, as it has been for decades. New York legislators have already spent several legislative systems fighting over the details of a recreational cannabis bill, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly voiced his support for legalization. But while legislators quibble over the details, law enforcement continues to use the uncertain legal status of cannabis as an opportunity to prey on people of color.