Video shows NYPD officer punching man after alleged social distancing violation

The plainclothes officer, who was not wearing a mask, is also seen pointing a stun gun.

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By Tim Stelloh

A New York City police officer who was recorded on video slapping a man and brandishing a stun gun over the weekend was placed on modified duty, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.

The video, which drew outrage from local officials, was captured Saturday after officers tried to disperse a group of people violating social distancing rules, authorities said.

The New York Police Department said in a statement that police were trying to arrest someone in the group after spotting a bag of marijuana when another person "took a fighting stance" against one of the officers.

In the video, a plainclothes officer without a mask can be seen pointing a stun gun at a man off screen and saying: "What are you flexing for?" Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered everyone in the state to wear masks or face coverings in public.

The officer then wrestles the man to the ground, punching and slapping him before he's dragged from the street onto the sidewalk and handcuffed.

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Police said two men and a woman were arrested, including Donni Wright, 33, who faces charges of assault on a police officer, menacing, resisting arrest and other crimes. Police did not confirm whether he was the man in the video.

City Council member Carlina Rivera said the officer should have de-escalated the confrontation and called for an investigation into "excessive force."

"Where's the professionalism?" she tweeted.

De Blasio, who said an investigation had begun, called the video "disturbing" and said the officer's "behavior" is "simply not acceptable."

Critics around the country have said police target minorities more than white protesters over social distancing. The man in the video is black.