[Screengrab from video taken by Daquan Owens]
The NYPD officer who violently arrested a bystander on Avenue D this past May 2 has reportedly resigned instead of face a departmental trial.
According to the Daily News, the internal misconduct trial for Officer Francisco Garcia was to start today.
Garcia, who was stationed at PS4 on Avenue C, had been on desk assignment following the ugly confrontation when an attempt to enforce social distancing rules escalated on a spring Saturday afternoon.
Garcia and his partners originally approached a man and a woman outside the corner deli on Ninth Street and Avenue D over a lack of social distancing, police officials previously said. This encounter reportedly led to an arrest on marijuana and weapons charges.
As seen in a widely circulated video shot by a witness, Garcia, who was not in uniform, then walked toward several bystanders, including Donni Wright, a nearby resident who works for the NYCHA. Police officials originally defended Wright, who they said took a "fighting stance," which led Garcia to shout the n-word and brandish a taser before wrestling him to the ground and kneeling on his head. (See top image.)
Social justice activists and local elected officials have pointed out the similar tactics in this arrest with that of now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on the neck of George Floyd for more than eight minutes before he died on May 25.
Wright was arrested and was initially charged with assaulting an officer, menacing, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct. The charges were later deferred by the DA's office. Wright has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city.
In late May, The New York Times reported that the officers involved would face disciplinary charges.
While Garcia had been investigated by Internal Affairs, with a recommendation that departmental charges be filed, police officials never provided any updates or offered clarity on why further actions were taking so long.
Local community leaders and elected officials gathered in late August to demand action against Garcia.
As for the news of the resignation, here's some coverage via Gothamist:
"The fact that this police officer resigned is important, but what's really important here is that he be criminally prosecuted, convicted and sent to jail for what he did," attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who's representing Wright in a civil lawsuit, told Gothamist.
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has opened an investigation and interviewed Wright about the incident, but has not filed charges, nearly six months later. A spokesperson for the office declined to comment on the investigation.
In a statement, PBA President Pat Lynch said that Garcia was left "holding the bag" for the failures of City Hall and NYPD leadership.
The city had paid out nearly $200,000 to settle lawsuits involving Garcia, an eight-year veteran, as previously reported.
Previously on EV Grieve:
• In aftermath of Avenue D arrests, pols want answers from city on how social distancing is being enforced
• Investigation for excessive force demanded after social-distancing arrests on Avenue D
• Caravan protest on Avenue C addresses racial bias and police violence in social-distancing arrests