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The boyfriend of a woman who was punched off her feet by an NYPD detective appeared in court quietly overnight charged with drugs and weapons offenses.
Elvin James, 22, is the man Tamani Crum was trying to protect when she stood in front of NYPD officers in Harlem on Tuesday.
New York police released body camera video Thursday of an altercation that led to an officer punching a 19-year-old woman and sending her to the ground.
In a statement, the department said, “While the NYPD is committed to the safety of all New Yorkers, we are also committed to transparency.”
The incident occurred around 5 p.m. Tuesday on West 136th Street in Harlem.
The footage shows a chaotic arrest that becomes even more chaotic after the woman in the frame, identified as 19-year-old Tamani Crum, confronts an officer as she arrests a man she reportedly knows.
According to the criminal complaint, the detective told Crum to leave the area while they made the arrest. He allegedly tried to grab her arm, which is when Crum allegedly slapped the detective’s arm away from her.
The officer is then seen pushing her and she falls backwards onto the pavement. She is then seen being lifted off the ground and stopped.
The NYPD shared the following statement on Thursday:
On Tuesday afternoon, NYPD officers from the 32nd Precinct were attempting to take a person into custody when a struggle ensued and a crowd formed around the officers. The individual was carrying an illegally loaded Polymer 80 semi-automatic pistol, known as a “ghost pistol,” on his waistband. New York police officers removed another illegal firearm, and the person brazen enough to carry it in public, from the streets of our city.
During this encounter, a female acquaintance of this individual began to interfere with the arrest, including hitting one of the officers. That officer rejected that interference and struck the woman with an open hand. The woman was placed under arrest for obstructing government administration, remained conscious of her and was transported to an area hospital at her request. Two additional women were similarly accused of interfering with the actions of police officers during this incident. This incident, including the conduct of the officer who used force, is under ongoing review by our Office of Internal Affairs’ Task Force. All police body camera footage, as well as other area surveillance video and witness statements, are being collected and reviewed. While the NYPD is committed to the safety of all New Yorkers, we are also committed to transparency. Therefore, I expedited the release of the officers’ body camera footage and am awaiting the results of the IAB investigation.
“I think the police officers on the scene showed great restraint. They did what the system asked for,” he said. “People came in and interrupted while the police were acting. That just can’t happen… At a safe distance, you can video what the officers are doing, but you should never walk into a scene of apprehension.”
On Wednesday night, Crum pleaded not guilty to obstructing government administration. After she was paroled, her attorney said he was pleased the district attorney decided not to charge her with assaulting an officer or resisting arrest.
In a statement last night, Union President Paul DiGiacomo said, “Criminals in New York have grown accustomed to no consequences for their dangerous and illegal actions, but when you attack a New York City detective for interfering with the arrest of a man armed with a weapon are no repercussions.
Mrs. Crum is not a girl and her gender is irrelevant; she created this situation, and the NYPD just responded.
“We urge politicians to open their eyes and see the public safety disaster they have created.”
Kinsey was trying to arrest James on suspicion of attempted murder at the time. The circumstances of that case remain unclear, but James is believed to have been among a group of men involved in a shooting on August 12.
Among Crum’s supporters is the Rev. Al Sharpton, who is helping her with her legal defense.
At a press conference yesterday, representatives of Sharpton’s organization said that Crum was the victim of a barbaric police force.
DiGiacomo, responding Thursday, called the comments “crazy.”
“Al Sharpton should be concerned about the thousands of real crime victims in this city and not about the spotlight and lining his pocket,” he said.
Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a spokeswoman for the National Police Association and a former police officer who spent 30 years on the police force outside Chicago, told DailyMail.com that any outrage should be directed at Crum and not at the detective.
‘Tamani Crum, a 19-year-old adult, made the decision to put herself in a very dangerous situation when NYPD detectives and officers attempted to arrest a wanted murder suspect who was armed with a loaded firearm.
“It is clear from the video that she was interfering with a lawful arrest.
The family says the detective must be held accountable and that Crum, who has no criminal record, is suffering from injuries.
“Absolutely she used excessive force. We are talking about a 19-year-old girl versus an adult male who is approximately three times his weight and body size,” said family attorney Jaime Santana Jr.
The detective is still on active duty.
NYPD sources told CBS2 there will be an investigation, but added that the officer’s actions appear justified. The initial arrest was in an attempted murder case and police say the suspect, 22-year-old Elvin James, had a loaded gun at the time.
Crum is due back in court on October 11.
Elvin James Quick and Facts
- Elvin James, 22, was the man Tamani Crum was trying to protect when she was punched by a cop on Tuesday
- James was arrested for guns and weapons possession along with resisting arrest and assaulting a cop
- Crum was charged with obstruction but she was released from custody on Wednesday night
- She was filmed flinging her fists at Detective Kendo Kinsey as he tried to arrest James in Harlem
- In retaliation, Kinsey floored her with a single punch and a video of the incident went viral
- Police unions and the Mayor are standing by him and say the teenage girl should never have interfered
- Her family and police critics say it’s another example of police brutality and that she should sue