NYPD defends officers in beatdown video, slams Manhattan DA

January 12, 2019 - 4:11 pm

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NYPD commissioner is defending officers who were recorded bludgeoning two people with batons on a Washington Heights street.

Commissioner James O'Neill said Friday that the officers were defending themselves after being attacked by a man with a history of getting into fights with police and then filing lawsuits over the altercations.

O'Neill also slammed the Manhattan District Attorney's office over its handling of the case.

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He said prosecutors were wrong not to charge one of the men involved in the brawl, and wrong to let the other one go without requesting bail.

A spokesman for the district attorney's office defended its handling of the case.

A civil rights lawyer representing the two men involved in the fight called for a grand jury investigation of the police response, which he said was excessive.