The NYPD is investigating a police officer who poured a jug of water over a charcoal grill during a Harlem sidewalk barbecue on Saturday night. The incident was captured on video by partygoers who accused the cop of being racist and disrespectful, and interrupting a batch of food being prepared for a group of kids.
"Clown ass cop came to the #ThotBlock violating fucking our groove up smh," Harlem-based filmmaker and event promoter GDOTT wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday.
A one-minute video posted to Youtube by user Israelite shows a male officer uncapping a jug of water and walking over to the charcoal grill, which is surrounded by people. Steam plummets as he pours the entire jug over the coals. The video is titled, "Racist cop pours water on cookout grill and denies black children of food."
"Officer, you wildin'. You on some real disrespectful shit," one man says, adding, "You feel better?" after the grill is doused.
"There's kids out here, boss!" a man's voice says. "Look, there's kids out here!"
Before walking away, the officer asks to see the video.
"The Commanding Officer of the 28th Precinct has been made aware of the video and is conducting an investigation," an NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist via email.
Earlier in the day Saturday, GDOTT posted an invitation to a BBQ Brunch on Instagram, planned for the corner of 121st Street and 7th Avenue. "BBQ Brunch right now on the The Block!" he wrote. "Sangria, Waffles, Seafood, BBQ Food all type of shit... Pull Up!"
The brunch seems to be the same event that the 28th Precinct officer doused, though GDOTT didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. The NYPD did not immediately confirm if, or when, police had responded to 121st and 7th.
Charcoal grilling is illegal in some contexts, according to the NYC fire code. Grills are allowed on terraces and in backyards, but not on roofs or balconies. Sidewalk grills must be ten feet from any building, and anyone grilling is required to have access to a fire extinguisher or garden hose.
"You can't have bbq's on the sidewalk—It's not a backyard," commenter el6747 wrote on Youtube. "What's so hard to understand about that?!"
"This is a result of gentrification," commenter Miss Canty countered. "Sidewalk BBQ's in Black/Latino neighborhoods have been a part of Harlem/Bronx/Brooklyn culture since the 60's. The new neighbors are complaining. That's why I moved."