MANHATTAN — An NYPD officer allegedly beat and dragged a 19-year-old homeless man and then lied about it, prosecutors said Wednesday.
“This defendant is charged with flagrantly abusing his position as an officer of the law when he beat and dragged a young man and then lied about the attack to his superiors, to prosecutors, and in official charging documents,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. “The alleged conduct does not only violate the oath he took to protect and to serve; it also weakens the public trust in law enforcement.”
Officer Elijah Saladeen, 48, responded to reports of a trespasser in a West 17th Street New York City Housing Authority building on Feb. 24, 2017, officials said. He found the homeless man sleeping on a stairwell and handcuffed the teen.
Saladeen and the victim struggled with each other in an elevator on the way to the building lobby, police said. They both fell to the floor and Saladeen allegedly repeatedly punched the homeless man in the face, injuring him badly enough that he needed stitches.
While the pair, along with other officers, waited for an ambulance, Saladeen allegedly dragged the homeless man – still in handcuffs – to the back of the lobby where he punched the man in the ribs and side.
Then Saladeen allegedly lied to his superior officers about what happened, prosecutors said. He said the injuries were self-inflicted. The officer was caught when video surveillance footage and eyewitnesses contradicted his report.
Saladeen was charged with assault, attempted assault, making a punishable false written statement and offering a false instrument for filing during his Wednesday arraignment.