The original cell phone video of the encounter in upper Manhattan went viral online, and now we’re seeing even more of the clash that happened near the subway station at the corner of W. 169th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. The new video, provided by a law enforcement source, comes from an officer’s body camera and shows a different angle before the brawl began.
The body cam footage shows two men, 36-year-old Aaron Grissom and 37-year-old Sidney Williams, arguing with officers on Tuesday near the station in Washington Heights. The officers can be heard telling the men to move 100 feet away from the station, after police say they were previously reported for alleged harassment by subway riders.
Grissom and Williams are heard refusing to do so. The showdown appears to escalate as an officer moves towards him. The two begin fighting on the sidewalk before the tussle moves onto the the street.
All the while, officers can be heard calling for backup.
“Why you hit him for?” Williams can be heard yelling before the officer wearing the body camera also appears to get into a scuffle.
The footage appears to show the moments before the original viral video, with cops swinging their batons at the pair they say were resisting arrest.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch once again defended the officers’ actions, saying in a statement sent to CBS2 the latest footage “clearly shows a perp refusing to obey a lawful order from a police officer, then attacking that officer when he tries to arrest him.”
On Friday, Police Commissioner James O’Neill also stood by the officers.
“These cops did exactly what we asked them to do,” he said.
O’Neill has urged Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to charge both men, each of whom have multiple prior arrests for crimes including assault, taunting, and menacing police.
So far, Grissom is the only one who’s been charged in the Tuesday brawl. He’s due back in court next month, and in the meantime has been ordered to stay away from the subway station in Washington Heights.
CBS2 reached out to Grissom’s attorney, who said “It is clear from the body cam footage that the police officer escalated the incident, was clearly the aggressor and thru (sic) the first punch.” He’s calling for an independent investigation of the officers’ actions.