New video shows a New Rochelle, New York police officer having an encounter with a group of teens. In the video, the teenagers appear to be having an innocent snowball fight. The officer draws his gun and tells the teens to get on their knees and raise their hands in the air. Then he searches them.
In the video, a woman can be heard off-camera:
They were having a snowball fight. This group of guys was having a snowball fight and now a cop has a gun on them.
The New Rochelle Police Department says the video is misleading. Police were actually responding to a 911 call about a teenager threatening someone with a gun. On the scene, the responding officer told the suspected teens not to move, while he checked to see if they were carrying weapons. “There was no snowball fight,” said New Rochelle Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Murphy.
Still, the Grio reported, “NY cop holds black teens at gunpoint over snowball fight.”
Police say the video failed to show another teenage suspect with a gun running from the scene with an officer in pursuit. The teen got away. Murphy continued:
The group was compliant. (At the same time) the other cop is in foot pursuit of the suspect that had the gun. The suspect runs into an apartment house and into an unknown apartment.
A source described as “high-ranking” agreed with Murphy that the video is an example of “clever mischief.” Said the source:
The video looks terrible, but it’s completely out of context. It’s a completely different incident than it appears from that snippet. There’s clearly a lot of misunderstanding. The record of the 911 call will by itself illustrate what was going on.
At this point, the police are not releasing the 911 tape, to protect the identity of the person who made the call.
This incident is an example of how, in this age of ever-present video and the Internet, we are often presented with data that contains insufficient or misleading information.