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Alleged rough arrest video shows why NYPD needs body cameras: Context

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THE BRONX — A video uploaded to YouTube and Facebook appears to show police officers punching 24-year-old Anthony Nelson during an arrest in the Bronx on Sunday.

According to the criminal complaint filed after his arrest, Nelson was pulled over near East 229th Street after he made an illegal U-turn and officers observed marijuana in his possession. But bystanders shouted in protest as officers struggled to place Nelson in custody.

Nelson appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to charges of resisting arrest and marijuana possession. But the footage of his arrest most stands out because of what it fails to show – Nelson’s interactions with officers before he was pulled out of the car.

The NYPD body camera program, still in it’s pilot phase, would equip more officers with body-worn cameras to document arrests like Nelson’s – potentially from start to finish.

Thursday, the NYPD’s Inspector General released an initial report on the program.

“We think its important that NYPD get the policy right first, you need to nail down the policy before you talk about expanding the program,” Inspector General Philip Eure said.

So far, 54 officers are equipped with body cameras across the city. Before the program expands, the report found officers should be better directed on when to turn on the devices, and videos should be stored for 18 months instead of the current term of 1 year.