A 25-year-old Queens man says he was wrongfully arrested and beaten inside his home earlier this month after two police officers from the 105th Precinct saw him walking his puppy without a leash and demanded identification.
The Daily News first reported the incident, which was captured on video by the arrestee's girlfriend. Following the arrest, which ultimately involved a dozen officers uniformed and in plainclothes, Nicholson Gregoire was charged with assaulting an officer, strangulation and resisting arrest, among other charges, and could face up to seven years in prison. His left arm is in a sling.
Two officers were reportedly hospitalized as a result of the arrest.
Gregoire, a biology student at Nassau Community College, reportedly set out to walk his five-month-old pitt bull Blue around 5:00 p.m. on December 15th. Two officers asked him for his ID when they saw that Blue did not have his leash, and accompanied Gregoire back to his home.
When Gregoire came to the door with his ID, he alleges that the officer pushed past the doorway, and proceeded to forcefully arrest him. In video footage acquired by the tabloid, Gregoire can be seen holding his hands up, gripping his ID.
According to an arrest report, Gregoire refused to hand the ID over, despite the urgings of his 87-year-old grandfather. Police say he resisted arrest and allegedly gripped one of the officers in a chokehold, prompting the officers to call for backup. The video shows Gregoire gripping one of the officers around the neck from behind, but the arrestee told the tabloid that he has no recollection of this.
"I don't recall putting the officer in a chokehold,” he said, adding, "I don't think I should have been arrested in my home for walking my dog. I was scared for my life."
Gregoire's attorney, Mark Crawford, says that the officers had no right to enter his client's home in the first place, and is challenging allegations that Gregoire dragged them over the threshold into his home. He is filing a notice of claim against the city this week.
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services data shows that 87% of NYPD misdemeanor arrests in the first nine months of this year involved people of color.
Video of an October arrest in Columbus Circle shows an NYPD officer appearing to use a chokehold to subdue a man after he had allegedly been skateboarding illegally. No injuries were noted on the arrest report.
The use of chokeholds is generally prohibited by the NYPD's patrol guide. Regardless, NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was not charged in the chokehold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner in 2014.
The NYPD declined comment, pending a press release on the arrest later this afternoon.
UPDATE 5:30: Reached by phone, Gregoire's attorney Mark Crawford described his client's arrest as an example of the NYPD using a "mob mentality."
"The video is 10-15 minutes long and not one officer says 'hey, wait a minute let's try to work this out,'" Crawford said. As for entering Gregoire's home, "They had absolutely no basis to be in the house. It's a basic protection of the constitution."
Crawford confirmed that Gregoire is undergoing x-rays this week to determine if his left arm is broken. He also has MRIs scheduled to address persistent headaches that cropped up after the arrest. According to his attorney, Gregoire attends John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and completed an exam to become a Correction Officer a week before his arrest.
"Now he has to rethink whether or not it's the right club for him, because now he's seeing a club where there's a gang mentality," Crawford said. "At the end of the day, he didn't do anything wrong. They are asking for an ID for a dog leash, and basically rushed him."