NYPD officer suspended after violent confrontation with food vendors at Brooklyn street fair

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SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (PIX11) -- An NYPD officer has been suspended—stripped of his badge and gun—after a confrontation between police and food vendors at a street festival in Brooklyn on Sunday.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he reviewed amateur video taken of the wild scene at the 5th Avenue Street Fair in Sunset Park.

“I was very concerned with a video that was taken and the actions of one of our officers who was seen kicking an individual.  As best I could tell looking at that video it seemed to be totally unprovoked.  That officer has been suspended,” said Bratton.

The Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the melee in which five people were arrested and charged with resisting arrest.

The street fair was organized by the Sunset Park Business Improvement District.  Vendors were granted an extra hour, but when their time was up, they apparently didn’t clear out fast enough.

“There was a necessity to try and open the street.  During that effort to open up the street, was an altercation between our officers and several of the street vendors,” said Bratton

“There’s a long history in this neighborhood.  Every time there’s community events, at the time that it’s over, they aggressively push people out of here,” said Dennis Flores, founder of El Grito de Sunset Park, a group which documents police involvement with the community.

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca,  who represents the largely Latino community, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez,  sent a letter to Commissioner Bratton asking for a town hall meeting.

“We are a community that has felt unfairly targeted, particularly with the explosion of Stop and Frisk in our City over the last decade,” they wrote.  “Our goal is to repair this dynamic.  We must bring together our neighbors, our trusted community organizations, and our police to begin the healing process and create the level of trust that Sunset Park  needs and deserves.”