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NYPD Investigates Video of Officer Punching Man Filming a Harlem Arrest

By  Ben Fractenberg and Valeria Ricciulli | May 20, 2016 7:42pm | Updated on May 22, 2016 10:40pm

WEST HARLEM — An officer who appears on video punching a bystander who was filming an arrest in West Harlem was placed on modified duty while internal affairs investigates the incident, an NYPD spokesman said.

Several officers chased a man who was riding an illegal dirt bike into a building on West 134th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard Thursday evening, NBC 4 New York reported Friday.

A video shows the man yelling “I can’t breathe” while officers restrained him on the lobby floor.

The video then shows one of the officers pointing a gun at the bystanders and telling them to back up.

The officer who pulled the gun then appears to walk outside the building and punch one of the bystanders in the face before slamming him to the ground.

"It's ridiculous how the cops hit the guy for no reason," Russell Houston, 32, who lives in the area, told DNAinfo. 

Police could not immediately confirm whether the man who was punched was injured or arrested.

It was also not clear if the suspected dirt bike rider was arrested Thursday.

The video comes just days after police crushed dozens of seized dirt bikes and ATVs as part of an initiative to clamp down on illegal rides this summer