New York City officials suspended a homeless shelter police officer Wednesday after he allegedly beat up a Venezuelan migrant, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Social Services (DSS) told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.
“Protecting the health and safety of our clients and staff is our top priority at all times and we do not tolerate any violence or misconduct against our clients,” the DSS spokesperson told the DCNF. “After a preliminary review of this incident, we are taking immediate action to suspend the DHSPD officer involved while we complete a full investigation.”
The incident occurred at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory in Brooklyn, a men’s shelter, between the officer and a Venezuelan migrant, 21, Meiver Martinez, according to The New York Times.
“Dont hit me” he says.
Emergency presser 2 PM mens shelter at Atlantic/Bedford. Live on instagram on either South Bronx Mutual Aid or NYCICEwatch’s account.
Conferencia de Prensa 2 PM esquina de Atlantic/Bedford. En vivo en Instagram en las cuentas mencionados arriba. pic.twitter.com/lE9BXFntRv
— The Looted Futures Generation (@PeoplesHistory) September 7, 2022
A video of the incident showed a situation that appeared to escalate as the officer and two individuals engaged in a verbal altercation. The video showed Martinez waving his hand in the officer’s face, followed by him kicking a nearby piece of furniture before the officer punched the individual.
One of the shelter residents appeared to punch the officer before someone stepped in to break up the group, according to the video.
The officer was allegedly harassing Martinez, who crossed the southern border over the summer, for not getting out of bed quickly, the migrant said, according to The NYT.
“Our staff are trained to lead with care and compassion at all times, and we work closely with all our clients to ensure that we are maintaining open lines of communication and addressing any concerns as they arise,” the DSS spokesperson assured.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities encountered over 1.9 million migrants at the southern border between Oct. 2022 and July 2022, according to agency data.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began busing some of those encountered to New York City in August.
“Because of President Biden’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said in a statement at the beginning of the effort.
Democrat New York City Mayor Eric Adams has criticized Abbott for the effort, but continues to support and provide shelter to the arriving migrants.
Martinez said “the only people that get treated like this are people who maybe robbed or murdered somebody. This is worse because it was done to an innocent person.”