NYPD Police Officer Lt. Paul Gaglio was filmed on surveillance video grabbing an 11-year-old girl around the neck, throwing her to the sidewalk and handcuffing her in 2015.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board reviewed surveillance footage, and ruled that Gaglio used a chokehold, which the NYPD bans except for “exceptional circumstances.”
Lying under oath about a “material matter” is also a violation of NYPD rules that usually results in firing.
BuzzFeed News notes that court documents and NYPD documents show evidence that then NYPD-commissioner Bill Bratton secretly killed an internal investigation to help Gaglio keep his $165,000 job, which now consists of patrolling Yankee Stadium:
[I]n August 2016, the NYPD secretly declined to punish the lieutenant, determining that he had not used excessive force.
Then-commissioner Bill Bratton went the extra step of shutting down an internal examination of the officer’s actions, sparing Gaglio from standing trial in front of the department’s in-house tribunal.
BuzzFeed News notes that Gaglio’s Facebook has shared anti-gay memes, images denigrating Islam, and posts demeaning black people. (The posts were deleted after BuzzFeed News inquired about them.):
Phil Walzak, a NYPD spokesperson, said the NYPD determined the surveillance video clearly shows the officer approached the girl and tried to talk to her and did not put his hands or arms around her neck, which it clearly does show.
Civil rights lawyer Bob Herbst, who represents the girl, wrote an op-ed in HuffPost how the girl was an innocent bystander:
Here’s the background. This past February, after school was out for the day, some boys from the school were throwing snowballs at a passing car. When the driver got out to yell at them — and put one of the boys in a headlock — his smartphone fell out of his pocket and another boy picked it up.
Upon realizing his phone was gone, the driver chased down one of the boys and threatened to call the police if the phone was not returned, and when it was not forthcoming, he did, apparently using someone else’s phone.
This 6th grader — let’s call her Angie — and a classmate were walking from school to the bus stop when they saw some of this. They were bystanders who had nothing to do with either the snowballs or the phone. But as the police arrived, the girls exchanged words as to whether they should stay to watch, or go, and then took off running for a block before stopping.
The driver — the man in the white jacket with the knapsack in the video — seeing Angie running, suspected — wrongly — that she was part of the group and had his phone. He approached Angie and asked for his phone. She told him she didn’t have his phone.
Shortly thereafter, as the video starts, this police lieutenant crossed the street, motioning for Angie to come toward him, which she did. But instead of engaging her verbally and asking her anything, like her name, or about the phone, he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her roughly toward him.
Shocked, and scared, we can see her trying to protest, but he does not let go; instead, he escalates the situation, pushing her toward the camera, frightening her even more, and then grabs her around the neck and throws her to the ground, where he rolls her over and rear cuffs her.