NYPD officers hit with criminal charges, disciplined over actions during George Floyd protests

Brooklyn DA arraigned officer who shoved woman during rally.

June 9, 2020, 5:35 PM

A New York Police Department officer who allegedly shoved a protester to the ground, turned himself in Tuesday morning to face criminal charges.

Officer Vincent D'Andraia, 28, was charged in a criminal complaint with assault, criminal mischief, harassment and menacing, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.

In this May 29, 2020, screen grab taken from video, New York police officer Vincent D'Andraia, right, pushes protester Dounya Zayer during a protest in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Whitney Hu via AP

The portions of the alleged incident, caught on video, took place on May 29 while D'Andraia was assigned to monitor a large crowd of protesters by Brooklyn's Barclays Center, prosecutors said.

D'Andraia allegedly told Dounya Zayer, 20, to move, and when she asked why, he "smacked her cellphone out of her hand, and violently shoved her to the ground," prosecutors said. The officer allegedly called the victim, a "stupid f------ b----," according to the criminal complaint.

Zayer suffered head and back pain, a seizure and a concussion, and was hospitalized, according to the criminal complaint.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said he's "deeply troubled by this unnecessary assault," and vowed to "seek to hold this defendant accountable."

D'Andraia, a five-year veteran who is currently suspended without pay, was released on his own recognizance after he was arraigned.

The judge approved an order of protection for the victim, barring D'Andraia from contacting her. He is due back in court Oct. 15.

D'Andraia faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD brass for "sacrificing cops to save their own skin."

"They created the failed strategy for managing these demonstrations. They sent police officers out to do the job with no support and no clear plan," he said in a statement.

Zayer's attorney, Tahanie A. Aboushi said she is disappointed the officer was charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony, given the severity of the injuries.

"Dounya was assaulted for the very reason she was protesting -- police brutality. The NYPD has been allowed to engaged in this type of conduct with impunity for too long," Aboushi, who is running for the Manhattan district attorney's office, said in a statement.

Later in the morning, NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea announced that an unnamed officer was placed on modified duty following an investigation into their actions during a May 29 protest in Brooklyn. The incident which was also caught on video, allegedly showed the officer open the door of their unmarked vehicle as they passed by a protester, striking the protester on their side.

New York Police Department officers gather as activists hold a rally in response to the police killing George Floyd in front of Barclays Center on May 29, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Justin Heiman/Getty Images

Shea said the officer's case has been referred to the NYPD's Department Advocate office for disciplinary action.

"While the investigation is still ongoing, there is no doubt in my mind that based on the seriousness of what we've seen in recent days, transparency is critical," Shea said in a statement.

On Friday, Shea suspended D'Andraia and another officer, who was filmed removing a face covering of a black protester and spraying him in the face with pepper spray during a May 30 protest.

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