Disturbing footage of a young man's violent arrest has prompted the NYPD to launch an internal investigation.
The incident occurred at around 7 p.m. Wednesday in Brooklyn, when a passerby noticed a young black man being detained by a plainclothes officer. The woman pulled out her phone and began recording, as the detainee—later identified as 20-year-old Fitzroy Gayle—repeatedly asked the officer why he had been stopped.
"I didn't commit any crime. What crime did I commit? Tell me!" Gayle is heard saying the officer. "I did not commit a crime ... Why are you following me? Can you answer my question? Look my in my eyes, I'm talking to you."
The officer ignores the questions, and demands Gayle to stop moving.
Moments later, the video shows at least a half-dozen officers rushing to the scene and wrestle Gayle to the ground. At one point in the clip, we see an officer step on the man's ankle as he screams out for someone to help him.
The woman who shot the video shared the footage via Twitter on Thursday. The two clips had collectively garnered more than 10 million views as of Thursday night.
"It's not like I was fighting with the officers. I was just trying to find out why [they were arresting me]," Gayle told BuzzFeed News. "I was panicking a little because I had never been in this type of situation before. They probably took that as me being aggressive."
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed the department was investigating the incident, according to the Associated Press. Shea said Gayle was approached by an undercover officer who had allegedly witnessed Gayle and another man smoking marijuana in a park. The NYPD claims both men fled, shortly before they were apprehended.
Shea told reporters that officers were on alert because of a reported gunshots nearby.
"At this point in time, I have nothing to indicate that they were in any way tied to the ShotSpotter incident," Shea said. "I certainly don’t know that the officers didn’t know that as they were arriving on that scene. And when you have two people take off running: I’ve been in that situation myself and you don’t know what you have."
Gayle was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, and marijuana possession. The second suspect, who has not been identified, was issued a summons.