A recently uploaded video shows a member of New York’s Finest brandishing a Taser at a group of Brooklyn high school students and asking if they want to “ride the lightning.”
In the video, which CUNY professor Alex Vitale uploaded to YouTube on Saturday, two NYPD officers are seen trying to herd a group of Midwood High School students off the sidewalk.
One officer, who has his baton in hand, pushes a student forward. When the high schooler tells the officer not to touch him, the cop responds by taunting him, repeatedly asking, “What are you gonna do about it?”
As the cops continue following the group of teens down the sidewalk, the same officer can be heard saying “Pick that shit up again” and then taking his stun gun from its holster, asking, “You wanna ride the lightning?”
When the students diffuse the situation by crossing the street, the officer says, “You better walk away.”
As Gothamist points out, NYPD’s patrol guide specifically advises Tasers “should generally not be used on children.” The department’s press office told the site that the video is “under internal review.”
Alex Vitale, who said he recorded the video in mid-March, said although it was the first time he’d witnessed an officer pull out a Taser while dealing with students, it’s not far off the interactions he usually sees from the police patrolling the area.
“I see officers aggressively dispersing students from Midwood all the time,” Vitale told Gothamist. “Sometimes, admittedly there are fights after school and school safety officers, who are unarmed, will get the kids to move on.”