The NYPD officer caught on camera shoving a woman to the ground at a protest last month is now facing criminal charges, according to a report by NBC News. Officer Vincent D'Andraia has been charged with assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing for his attack on 20-year-old Dounya Zayer. The 38-year-old cop turned himself into police on Tuesday.
D'Andraia was already suspended from the NYPD for violently shoving Zayer in a viral video taken at a Brooklyn protest. In the clip, Zayer is standing with other protesters when the police pass by when, without warning, D'Andraia shoves her backward and she hits her head hard on the curb. Zayer reportedly suffered a concussion from the incident, as well as a seizure after she was hospitalized. She and her attorneys say that the attack was unprovoked.
NYPD officer just called a female protester a “stupid fucking bitch” and threw her to the ground pic.twitter.com/18YUHYmqQa— Jason Lemon (@JasonLemon) May 30, 2020
Zayer's video was viewed millions of times over the intervening weeks, but D'Andraia was not suspended until Friday. The officer of Brooklyn's 73rd precinct was one of two cops suspended that day for their behavior during recent protests, and police officials are not pleased. Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, condemned Mayor Bill de Blasio's treatment of cops in a public statement.
"Once again, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD brass are sacrificing cops to save their own skin. They created the failed strategy for managing these demonstrations," he said. "They sent police officers out to do the job with no support or clear plan. They should be the ones facing this mob-rule justice."
Zayer spoke out shortly after the attack as well, saying that D'Andraia and other police seemed to misunderstand their mandate to "protect and serve" during these protests. She said: "I am in pain. My head hurts. I haven't slept in three days, and I cannot stop throwing up. But I am trying everything in my power to hold myself together for the people who are depending on me to speak on the situation."
"Them acting the way they acted today isn't helping the cause. It isn't proving to us that they care about us," Zayer continued. "He did this in front of his lieutenant and multiple other officers who watched me hit the ground. One even looked back to make sure I was still on the ground and they continued walking. Not one officer tried to help me and not one officer tried to stop the officer who assaulted me."
"I fully support the long-held American tradition of non-violent protest. As District Attorney I cannot tolerate the use of excessive force against anyone exercising this Constitutionally guaranteed right," added Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. "This is especially true of those who are sworn to protect us and uphold the law. I am deeply troubled by this unnecessary assault. We will now seek to hold this defendant accountable."