Yesterday, a video showing a police officer beating a man in an Upper West Side housing project lobby was shown to a jury. Officer David London is accused of felony assault—and lying on his police paperwork—in the beating of Iraq war vet Walter Harvin in 2008. But London's lawyers claimed that Harvin had it coming, even when Harvin was handcuffed, because Harvin had previously uttered, "I'm going to f---ing kill you" and was kicking while cuffed: "Just because an individual is in handcuffs, it doesn't mean he is no longer a danger."
The incident occurred when London tried to stop Harvin from entering the West 93rd Street building. The NY Time details the footage:
The two exchanged words, and Mr. Harvin brushed Officer London’s hand off and squeezed his way into the building. Cameras inside showed Mr. Harvin turning and pushing Officer London with two hands as the officer followed him into the building and reached out to stop him.
Officer London’s partner strode into the building and, as Mr. Harvin stepped into the elevator, Officer London grabbed his hand and spun him around. Mr. Harvin, standing tall, stepped toward Officer London, who took about two steps back before taking out his baton and striking Mr. Harvin near his face. Mr. Harvin fell to the ground, and Officer London crouched over him, raining down more than a dozen blows with his baton.
Mr. Harvin wiggled around like a fish until Officer London and his partner handcuffed him. Even after that, Officer London struck Mr. Harvin a few more times, once looking around the corner before turning and delivering more blows.
It turned out that Harvin was staying with his mother, who lives in the building, but forgot his key. Prosecutors say that London tried to cover up the incident by charging Harvin with assault and called London's beating "totally gratuitous...Clearly, he’s acting out of anger at Mr. Harvin."
Harvin admitted pushing London back in 2008, "As I walked into the elevator he grabbed my arm. That's when I pushed him. I was on the floor and he kept beating me with the stick. He sprayed me with Mace. While I was on the floor, he handcuffed me. I don't remember too much about it." Harvin is missing—his family last saw him about half a year ago—and it's believed he suffers from PTSD after serving in Iraq. The beating occurred two weeks after he returned to NYC.