An off-duty cop pulled a gun on bike messengers in Greenwich Village yesterday afternoon. According to the messengers, the incident on West 10th Street near Greenwich Avenue began when the officer cut one of them off with his car.
"My friend kind of screamed at him as he’s riding off," Aaron Lawrence, who shot video of the confrontation and uploaded it to Facebook, told the Daily News. "He stops his car, and he’s getting out of the car. As soon as he gets out of the car, I see a gun in his hand."
Without identifying himself, the gun-wielding motorist commanded, "Get on the floor, get on the floor!" Lawrence said.
Video of the encounter shows a man in shorts and a T-shirt pointing a silver revolver as the four bike messengers object.
"Put that away. Put that away. You on camera! I have you on camera, bro!" Lawrence yells. "You almost fucking hit me!"
"I didn't hit you," the driver says. Lowering his gun he waves the cyclists off, and momentarily turns away.
"You pulled into a fucking bike lane!" Lawrence yells. With the gun pointing in his friends' direction again, he yells, "I have no weapon! I have no weapon!"
The cyclists demand to see the man's badge—it's unclear from the video if he states he is a police officer at this point, and he retreats into the restaurant Rosemary's. A man, apparently Dejaune Jones, grows more heated, yelling, "Show me your fucking badge!" and follows the officer, taking off his backpack. Just before the video ends, the man who uploaded the video to Facebook, Aaron Lawrence, seems to try to convince Jones to let it go, saying, "Yo, De, we off this."
The standoff prompted a nearby elementary school to go on lockdown, according to ABC 7. On-duty cops eventually arrived, and arrested Jones, letting the off-duty sergeant drive away. Jones is facing charges of menacing, harassment, criminal mischief, and weapons possession. If you can believe it, the police version of what happened is drastically different.
Officers claim that Jones punched the sergeant's mirror, kicked his bumper, and came at him with an icepick. The video does appear to show Jones holding something in his right hand. ABC 7 reports that police did not recover a weapon. Jones's friends denied that he committed any crimes, and said the only things they pulled out were their phones.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for more information.
Update 4:10 p.m.:
Jones emailed us this account of what happened:
What happened was, I was riding my bike northwest bound towards mighty Quinns on 7th ave and 12th or 13th st with 3 of my friends and co workers, as we are riding up Greenwich ave, the Sergeant proceeds to attempt to go around a car at a stop light by cutting me off in my lane (bike lane). There was a black taxi parked on the corner not in the bike lane, my handle bars are 720mm long, that's big to be riding in the city, but I am very experienced at riding I know how to use my bike. So, the Sergeant created a tight space for me to go through so I closed his mirror inward quick by reaching my hand out and slamming it closed, I also screamed to let him know I was there.
A lot of cyclist have died the past 2 damn weeks, I am not trying to f***ing be one of them, not right now. I was in fear for my life when i saw his silver Honda darted out in front of me like that.
After I closed his mirror I looked back to see where my friends were at, because they saw how small the gap was for me to go through, so when they saw that I was not going to fit, they went to the middle of the street. I then see the Sergeant doing a hand movement, so I stopped my bike and walked back to his car to see what the problem was, cause on my part, my life was In danger, so the adrenaline was really pumping before the gun came into play. He then got out of his car, walked towards me with his hand in his pocket, I went to pull out my cell phone when I walked back to his car, as I was doing that, one of my tools fell out for my bike, and I went to pick it up and then he pulls out a revolver and points it directly in my face telling me to "get down and drop what was in my hands" according to the police, I had a "8in ice pick" and I "lunged at the officer with it". I didn't find out what they said I had till I got out of the precinct. That had me really at shock.
He never identified himself till after the on duty police came. They ran up to me, and tried to cuff me first, when I told them " go after him, he's the one with a fucking gun.* then the cops told me that he was one of them. My heart really fucking dropped when I saw him actually behind the desk when I walked in the [precinct].
There doesn't seem to be a bike lane on Greenwich Avenue, though there is one on West 10th Street at this intersection. I reached out to Jones for clarification on this point and will update if I get clarity on this point.
Jones said the tool he dropped was an Allen key. He acknowledged kicking the sergeant's bumper, saying he did it "out of adrenaline and frustration of him pointing a revolver point blank in my face and then just walking away into the restaurant with a loaded gun in his pocket."