Police chief criticized after Brooklyn neighborhood disturbance
By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK- A city politician on Wednesday demanded an apology from the police department's top uniformed officer who, he said, flew into a rage and cursed out the crowd during a street disturbance in a Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.
Esposito "lost it last night," said Hikind, a Democrat. "He thought he was in the Wild West."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, said that while officials would review the entire episode, "from what I can see the police department acted appropriately."
The unrest erupted after hundreds of residents took to the streets following what some witnesses said excessive force by officers during the arrest of a 75-year-old man who was pulled over in a routine traffic stop.
Witnesses said police shoved the man against a car.
Police officials have denied the claims, and authorities said the man, who was stopped for talking on his cell phone while driving, had resisted the officers. Two other people who meddled in the incident were also arrested, police said.
As word of the arrests spread, angry protesters _ many of them teenagers wearing traditional black suits and hats _ flooded the streets and set small fires. Some surrounded the police station and chanted, "No Justice, no peace," before officers in riot gear were dispatched to disperse the crowd.
Hikind blamed the police.
"The behavior of the young people in the street was unfortunate, but it escalated because of the police," he said.
Of Esposito, the assemblyman said: "We don't want his head. We want an apology."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly insisted he had "total confidence" in the chief.
"Sometimes in a chaotic situation things may be said that people might regret in the future," Kelly said. "But he's an outstanding commander, and I think overall the situation was handled well."
Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Recommended for you
Join the discussion
PoliceOne top 5
- After HOA demands pro-cop flag taken down, family shows support for LE in a different way
- Sheriff: Suspect opened fire on Texas deputy’s children, home in 'attack'
- 50 to 60 teens swarm Calif. train, rob weekend riders
- Video: SC motorcycle pursuit ends in fatal wreck
- Del. trooper killed, suspect barricaded in house