A New York City cop has been filmed viciously punching a Manhattan protester in the face in the middle of a street packed with demonstrators. The target, New Yorker Felix Rivera-Pitre, and his attorney are calling for an investigation of Friday's incident, notes the San Francisco Chronicle. Rivera-Pitre was grabbed by police after he was knocked to the ground by the punch, but was freed by other Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. “The cops were pulling me by my feet and the crowd was pulling me by my hands, and I was suspended in the air. But there were more people than cops, and they pulled me out," he said. An NYPD spokesman said Rivera-Pitre was attempting to "elbow" Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona in the face and sprayed an unknown liquid.
The department intends to charge Rivera-Pitre with attempted assault, obstructing justice, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. A reporter for the Gothamist—which first published the video—said he witnessed Cardona minutes after the confrontation, and it "did not appear that his eyes or face were injured." On the "off chance they were intending to arrest him for injuring the captain's fist with his jaw, I strongly suggest that you decide not to add insult to injury and avoid such a retaliatory move," Rivera-Pitre's attorney, Ron Kuby, wrote in a letter to the NYPD and Manhattan DA's office. Cardona was identified by the Daily Kos in another video, in which he got rough with a female protester last month in Manhattan after a controversial pepper-spray incident. (Read more Gothamist stories.)