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Brian Branch Price

New York police officer who shoved race protester to be charged

The police officer was suspended from the force last week.

A NEW YORK City police officer is to be charged today after he was filmed violently pushing a woman to the ground during a protest against police brutality.

Vincent D’Andraia will become the first NYPD officer to face criminal charges over last week’s demonstrations which saw the force criticized for using heavy-handed tactics against largely peaceful protesters.

The rare charges come as calls for police reform spread across the United States following the death last month of George Floyd, the African American who died as a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.

A spokesman for Brooklyn’s district attorney confirmed to AFP that D’Andraia would be charged with misdemeanour assault, harassment, menacing and criminal mischief over the May 29 incident.

He added that jail terms were generally not imposed for such crimes. 

Video captured on a mobile phone showed D’Andraia shoving the victim, 20-year-old Dounya Zayer, to the ground and calling her a “bitch” after she asked why she was being told to leave the street.

D’Andraia was suspended without pay last week after the clip came to light, according to a press release.

The New York Times reported that D’Andraia turned himself into a police station ahead of Tuesday’s charges.

Floyd’s death on May 25 sparked angry nationwide protests against police brutality and racism across the United States.

His death was just the latest incident in a larger pattern of police use of lethal force, which has seen officers acting with relative impunity for years.

Following Floyd’s killing, communities, states and even Congress have come up with initiatives to stem police violence, especially against blacks.