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        'The officer really did physical damage to my son’: Mother of bystander punched by NYPD cop in viral video says son is hospitalized

        The officer in the video has been placed on modified desk duty and stripped of his gun and badge, according to police sources.
        The officer in the video has been placed on modified desk duty and stripped of his gun and badge, according to police sources.(Facebook.com)

        The mother of the bystander punched by an NYPD cop in a viral video says her son is hospitalized with serious injuries from the encounter.

        “The doctor said he’s in pretty bad shape," Donna Wright said of her 32-year-old son, Donni Wright. “The officer really did physical damage to my son. He is not able to lift or sit.”

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        Donna Wright, who lives in North Carolina with her daughter, is coming to New York to see her son, who she is concerned could catch coronavirus in the hospital.

        Donna Wright and her son, Donni Wright.
        Donna Wright and her son, Donni Wright.

        The Manhattan District Attorney announced Monday it was deferring prosecutions against Wright and the other two suspects arrested during the incident.

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        Authorities say the incident began when plainclothes cops on patrol in the East Village told a crowd at E. 9th St. and Avenue D to disperse as part of the city’s social distancing crackdown during the pandemic.

        An NYPD cop making an arrest in the East Village for a social distancing violation threatened a bystander with a Taser and then punched him to the ground, startling video shows.
        An NYPD cop making an arrest in the East Village for a social distancing violation threatened a bystander with a Taser and then punched him to the ground, startling video shows. (Daquan Owens / Facebook)

        “You see a number of people not wearing masks at that scene,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday. “And that is the scene that the officers in plainclothes...initially walked up to investigate.”

        As the crowd thinned, cops spotted a bag of marijuana and moved in on Shakiem Brunson, 31, who was sitting on a milk crate and refusing to disperse, police say.

        Brunson’s girlfriend, Ashley Serrano, 22, interfered with the arrest and was slapped into cuffs herself. Authorities said Monday they recovered a Taser, $3,000 cash and the bag of marijuana.

        Donna Wright, 59, says her son, a NYCHA caretaker, was on his way to the store when he saw Brunson and Serrano, a family friend, being arrested.

        Wright spoke up in their defense and, according to police, “took a fighting stance.”

        Donni Wright is pictured in an undated photo.
        Donni Wright is pictured in an undated photo.

        Officer Francisco Garcia came at Wright, pointing his Taser.

        “Move the f--k back right now," Garcia told Wright, the video shows. "Don’t flex.”

        “We’re talking about someone sitting on your shoulder and punching your ribs and sitting on your shoulders and your head for a good three to four minutes, heavy weight bouncing,” Donna Wright, 59, said.

        A friend alerted her to the video and she says she collapsed when she watched it.

        An NYPD cop making an arrest in the East Village for a social distancing violation threatened a bystander with a Taser and then punched him to the ground, startling video shows.
        An NYPD cop making an arrest in the East Village for a social distancing violation threatened a bystander with a Taser and then punched him to the ground, startling video shows. (Daquan Owens / Facebook)

        “My whole body got chills,” the mother said. “I literally fell, because I right away recognized my son. It was just horrific. It was just a chilling feeling to see someone just take pure advantage, someone that is supposed to be securing and protecting us.”

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        “I’m not one to bash cops,” she added. “I don’t even like to hear people say it because I always feel like they’re doing a job. But at that point, I said ‘My God, my God.' It was just an awful feeling to see that. I know it happens to people but to know that it happened to my child...”

        Brunson’s mother, Candy Harris, said she saw part of the video on a news broadcast Sunday, but didn’t realize her son was in it until another son called her and told her what happened.

        “I didn’t know it was my child at first,” she said. “I’m glad he’s OK. I don’t know how alright. He said his body was sore last night when he was being released from downtown Brooklyn.”

        She said she didn’t know about her son’s comings and going. “I can’t tell you nothing about my kids. They is grown and everybody does their own thing. I just tell them all to be safe and hold their weight,” Harris said. “But this is not fair. It’s a shame it’s somebody’s child. That’s my child.”

        The Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced Monday they are holding off on moving forward with the case against Wright and the two suspects initially arrested.

        “Our office is deferring prosecution on these cases pending further investigation," a spokeswoman said Monday.

        Donni Wright had been charged with assault on a police officer, menacing and resisting arrest. Brunson and Serrano had been charged with resisting arrest, weapon possession and disorderly conduct, with Brunson hit with an addition pot charge.

        Garcia has been stripped of his gun and shield and placed on modified duty.

        Donni Wright’s attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, called on Manhattan DA Cy Vance to open a criminal investigation into the officer’s actions.

        Rubenstein said Garcia’s takedown of Wright was “unprovoked,” and “an assault for which there was no justification.”

        On Monday, Mayor de Blasio also continued to condemn the rough arrest of Wright.

        “The video was very troubling,” they mayor said. “What I saw was absolutely unacceptable and obviously discipline was swift by the NYPD.”

        NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, appearing with the mayor Monday, noted that “de-escalation takes two, unfortunately,” but said the arrest wasn’t handled well.

        “We can do better than that, quite frankly,” Shea said.

        The social distancing mandate has created a new level of stress for cops. Shea dismissed the suggestion that cops not in uniform shouldn’t be involved in enforcing social distancing.

        But Pat Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association, said no cops should be involved in enforcing social distancing.

        “This situation is untenable,” he said. "The NYPD needs to get cops out of the social distancing enforcement business altogether. The cowards who run this city have given us nothing but vague guidelines and mixed messages, leaving the cops on the street corners to fend for ourselves.

        “Nobody has a right to interfere with a police action, but now that the inevitable backlash has arrived, they are once again throwing us under the bus.”

        With Carla Roman

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