VIDEO: Police Beat Alleged Drug Dealer During Arrest on Inwood Street

By Lindsay Armstrong on August 14, 2014 4:24pm 

NYPD Probing Police Beating of Alleged Inwood Drug Dealer, Officials Say
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Facebook/Ivan Abreu Jr.

INWOOD — A video shows a young man being punched and hit with a baton by a group of police officers during a drug bust in Inwood — the latest in a string of controversial arrests that have been caught on tape. 

Francisco Caminero, 23, was arrested on Sunday, Aug. 10, after officers allegedy saw him deal drugs and found him with bags of cocaine in his pocket in front of 148 Sherman Ave., authorities said.

A video taken by an onlooker shows a few officers talking to Caminero when he raises his hands into the air. When he moves his hands down towards his shorts pocket, one officer can be seen slamming him against the metal grate of a closed storefront.

Four other officers help to pull Caminero to the ground, while a fifth officer warns bystanders to stay back, the video shows.

Once Caminero is on the ground, one officer punches him several times in the face while a second hits his lower body first with his hand and later with a baton, according the video. Several bystanders are heard shouting, “Why are you punching him?” while an officer can be heard yelling, “Give me your hand.”

After Caminero is handcuffed, officers lift him to his feet and escort him to a police van, the video shows.

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A police source said that the officers saw Caminero drinking on the street and handing off what looked like drugs to another person in exchange for cash.

Caminero was busted with three bags of cocaine in his pockets, while the person he did the deal with fled, prosecutors said.

The police source said officers hit Caminero because he refused to allow himself to be handcuffed, instead pinning his hands between his body and the ground. Police could not tell from that position if he was concealing a weapon or drugs, the source added.

Caminero, who was released without bail, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to police, Caminero has eight prior arrests, five of which were for criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. The results of the arrests were not clear.

There were more than 200 police officers in the 34th Precinct Sunday due to the annual Dominican Day Parade. A police source noted that officers wrote numerous desk appearance tickets for activities such as drinking in public Sunday but that very few arrests were made.

The incident comes amid a string of controversial arrests by the NYPD that were caught on tape. On July 17, Staten Island resident Eric Garner died after police placed him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes. The death was ruled a homicide.

A week later, a video surfaced of police appearing to use the same banned move while arresting a 22-year-old  in a Harlem subway station. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has ordered a review of NYPD training on use of force as a result.

Additionally, an officer was placed on modified duty after a video appeared showing him pointing a gun at a man and stomping on his head for smoking marijuana on Bedford-Stuyvesant street.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The original video was taken down from YouTube after the publishing of this article. A shorter clip has been included in this story.

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