Earlier this week, prosecutors finally released surveillance video showing an NYPD officer delivering 20 baton blows to a man writhing on the floor of the lobby of a West 93rd Street housing project. But that video did not conform to the initial description of the July 2008 beating, specifically that the accused officer, David London, had hit Iraq war veteran Walter Harvin even after he was handcuffed. Now the full video has been released, and that part can be seen at the 7:45 minute mark (after London has taken a break from the beatdown to make a call on his cell phone):
Yesterday London took the stand in his defense, and called the arrest "routine." Which is (unintentionally?) funny-'cuz-it's-true. The incident unfolded after London tried to stop Harvin from entering the building (where his mother resides). According to London, what's missing from the video is the audio; he testified that Harvin "was very hostile to me" when asked to show his I.D. "He said, 'I fucking told you I live in apartment 22-C!' "
And then, according to London, Harvin shoved him in an attempt to move past to the elevator. The Times reports that after the assistant D.A. showed the video and asked London to explain where the push was, the officer responded, "He put his hands on me, sir." Justice Thomas Farber then asked London if he thought that "touching you is pushing you." To which London replied, "Yes, your honor."
Asked why he continued to beat Harvin when he was curled up on the floor, London explained, "In my military training, if a person is down on the ground, they’re trained to kick your legs from underneath you, and they’re still a threat." As for why he punched and kicked Harvin after he was handcuffed, London said that Harvin began screaming threats again, and he "was worried that Harvin was trying to draw a crowd, which would have made the situation more dangerous."