The family of a Brooklyn teen who is suing the city claims he suffered brain damage during a violent arrest this past summer. Marcel Hamer, 17, was walking home from school around 3:30 p.m. on June 4th on Gates Avenue near Waverly Avenue in Clinton Hill when plainclothes cops stopped him. They accused him of smoking marijuana, while Hamer says he was just smoking a cigarette. You can see the ensuing arrest below.
You can hear Hamer pleading with the officer that "it was just a cigarette, mister," while lying in the gutter behind a parked vehicle. It's hard to see clearly because the cameraman is moving around the tree when it happens, but when you slow the video down, it appears that the officer punches him in the face (his head may have also hit the ground or the car's bumper). You can then see Hamer is holding his face in an apparent daze, before becoming unconscious. Other people begin yelling, "He knocked out! He knocked out! You knocked him out!" At one point, the officer tells the cameraman, "yeah, get it on film."
Hamer's mother told Brooklyn Paper that he now suffers from headaches, dizziness, and memory loss since the incident. "He is always complaining of headaches and he cannot remember things," Mary Hamer said. "He used to be pretty sharp, and now I am helping him."
Hamer pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The family is now suing for $5 million, and also want the officer to be criminally prosecuted. "If what happened on this video was reversed and Marcel assaulted this officer in the same exact manner, Marcel would be prosecuted, and this officer should be prosecuted for what he did," said the family's attorney, James Ross.
There have been several recent cases where suspects have allegedly resisted arrest and been violently arrested, resulting in physical harm and lawsuits. This incident comes to light the same week that NYPD Internal Affairs and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said they are investigating officers involved in a violent arrest in Bed-Stuy that was caught on camera. It also comes on the heels of Eric Garner's family announcing their intention to sue NYC for $75 million over his fatal chokehold arrest.
Mayor de Blasio has previously reminded New Yorkers to let police arrest them.