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A viral video posted to Twitter on Wednesday captured the brutal beating of a 12-year-old African American girl by a large, White male NYPD officer.
According to sources who spoke with the New York Daily News, the assailant has been identified as officer Nicholas Scalzo. The officer responded to a fight between youths at a bus stop near Edwin Markham Middle School in Port Richmond just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, police said.
The roughly eight second video shows the officer repeatedly hitting a young girl named Kyonna in the head with a closed fist as she tries to back away and as other girls try to shield her from the officer’s blows.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Kyonna admits that she hit the NYPD officer two times while trying to defend her cousin from another youth.
“The cops came and they were supposed to be breaking it up, but obviously me and a cop got into a fight,” Kyonna said Wednesday. “Basically they broke it up and they were putting everyone in handcuffs.”
When she saw her cousin placed in handcuffs, she demanded answers from the officer.
“I asked the cop ‘What are you guys doing?’” Kyonna told the New York Daily News. “And he pushed me and I hit him two times.”
From there, the officer began repeatedly beating the young girl, who was later taken to the hospital without her mother’s knowledge.
I had no idea about it,” the mother told NY Daily News. “I was hurt. It’s upsetting when a female was hit by a male but this is a juvenile by a police officer, so it just brings it to another notch.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams praises NYPD following attack
Meanwhile, newly appointed Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell immediately suspended Scalzo, pending an internal investigation.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams praised Sewell’s quick actions, to the dismay of the Fraternal Order of Police. Yet the mayor’s own verbal response to the violent act focused more on praising the NYPD than condemning Scalzo’s action.
“You could be the staunchest critic of a police officer, but you know three numbers in this city, 911,” he said as he explained that the incident shouldn’t cause New Yorkers to distrust the NYPD.
“You are happy when they pull up, you are happy to see them late at night, you’re happy if your child is out somewhere knowing that they are on the street.”
It’s unclear why Mayor Adams, a former police officer himself, felt the need to defend his officers rather than express support for the victim of Scalzo’s attack.
Yet as critics continue to call out the NYPD’s incessant policing in the city’s subway stations, Mayor Adams has doubled down in his staunch, unwavering support of their actions.
“I’m just disappointed,” Kyonna said. “That precinct and the NYPD and that man.”