CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (PIX11) –The NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating allegations that an NYPD officer stole money from a man before pepper spraying him and his sister in Brooklyn last month.
Lamard Joye was celebrating his 35th birthday at a basketball court at the Surfside Gardens housing project in Coney Island Sept. 16 when cops arrived. The officers were responding to a call concerning a man with a gun, the New York Daily News first reported.
The confrontation allegedly began when Joye tried to help a man who was being roughed up by police officers. After shouting “Is that necessary?” to the cops, one NYPD officer pushed Joye against a fence.
The unidentified officer appears to pat Joye down, allegedly takes $1300 from his pocket, and then pepper sprays him. Joye confronts the officer, prompting witnesses to say “He just stole his money!”
Joye’s sister, Lateefah, attempted to get the officer’s badge number, but was pepper sprayed instead.
Both siblings are now being represented by lawyer Robert Marinelli. According to Marinelli, Lamard, who works as a construction worker, had $1300 because it was his birthday and he was going to take his wife out of town.
The lawyer told the New York Daily News that he believes the officer assumed Lamard obtained the money illegally. He also said it was "disturbing" that other cops on the scene did not do anything to stop the wrongdoing.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's office is now investigating the incident. The cell phone video which captured the incident was handed over to authorities.
A spokesperson for the NYPD said in a statement the officer removed a cellphone and $62 from Joye's pocket, which was vouchered at the precinct.
The Department says Joye never returned to the precinct to pick up his items.