Bronx community says cops aggressively dispersed peaceful block party

CONCOURSE, the Bronx —Jarring video shows an NYPD officer push citizens down the sidewalk, shouting: “Leave! Leave!”

It happened near the intersection of 164th and Sheridan, following a neighborhood gathering at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Neighbors, including Edgar Alvarez, who shot the video, said the annual block party had been going strong without incident for hours.

“The police all came super aggressive, they didn’t give us a chance to do anything, to pick up anything, it was either stay there or get beat up or go to jail,” Alvarez said.

However, a police spokesman said the large crowd was blocking multiple sidewalks and made it hard for cars to get through the intersection. He said community members refused to disperse, confronting officers— yelling and screaming.

Some of Alvarez‘s video does show officers at first calmly trying to get people to go home, but a minute later you can see officers making the first of two arrests. The “leave, leave,” moment came six minutes later.

Local Black Lives Matter and civil rights leader Hawk Newsome said police escalated the situation.

“Street parties on the Upper East or West Side, people are given time to disassemble, but not here," Newsome said. "They come through our neighborhood like it’s a war zone."

Police insist there is body camera video that justifies their response. The officer seen yelling did have a taser in hand in the video, but did not discharge it, police said.

Six people were cited in addition to the two arrests.