By Sandra Harris
In a viral video tweeted on July 11, a Black man bravely defended himself against the police and put an officer in a headlock after NYPD began arresting another man in the Bronx. Officers claimed they were responding to a vehicle illegally parked by a fire hydrant.
Franklin Adrian was being arrested for a parking summons after police claimed they told him to move his car and he refused. One man began filming the incident and taunting the police officers. The police began arresting Adrian when a crowd gathered around them as police pinned him to the ground.
As Adrian was on the ground, members of the crowd moved in to help push the police off. That is when police lunged at one of the members of the group, Wisnel Manzueta. Manzueta fought against the police officer’s attempts to pin him against a vehicle and arrest him.
Manzueta defended himself against the police officer’s attack and quickly put the officer in a headlock and dragged him to the ground. Other members of the group intervened and helped free the man so he could break away as the police continued to fight and detain him. The man recording the video taunted the police saying “You just got smoked…they smoked the shit out of you.” Police stated after that the officer who attacked Manzueta needed to get surgical staples placed in his head.
While he escaped the initial encounter, a week after the incident, Manzueta turned himself in with his lawyer. The state is continuing to build its case against him.
Video of the fight was tweeted out by the President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, which now has more than four hundred thousand views. The Sergeants Benevolent Association is the union for higher-ranking police officers.
The association used the video as an opportunity to criticize a newly-passed City Council bill removing NYPD’s ability to choke people saying, “COREY JOHNSON your STUPID law is about to be signed by NYC STUPID Mayor it’s time you both take your community input & grab these perps yourself.” The use of chokeholds by New York police are most well known in the instance of Eric Garner who was murdered after being held in a chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner said “I can’t breathe” 11 times in the chokehold before he died.
The people of the Bronx did not stand down against the police even when they were being attacked by them. There are many rules that prohibit police from “excessive force,” but the people of the Bronx were correct not to rely on this and fight back, understanding that any presence of racist police is a threat to the safety of the people.