Image copyright Rene Farber Image caption The new CNN investigation goes into the mindset of New York police
A new investigation has revealed that New York police planned to provoke a bloody and racially charged confrontation with protesters during the arrest of Ousmane Zongo in March, 2018.
Footage recorded by a CNN crew shows police directing crowd members to gather around a corner, with one of the officers ordering people to “get your asses going and get that sick, fucking white girl out of there”.
After a dramatic standoff, at least one woman was hit in the head with a baton and the cable news channel claims a police officer told journalists to “empty [their] trunk”.
In a statement, New York police said: “The video suggests that critical lines of communication were purposely disregarded by the officers shown in it.
“We are investigating the content to determine whether any use of force or failure to intervene was legally unreasonable.”
The investigation was first reported by The Intercept.
The main focus of the investigation was a large number of videos capturing what appeared to be the arrest of Zongo after he was shot with a bean bag round.
No longer just a second class citizen
Image copyright CNN Image caption Zongo’s arrest became a source of national outrage
In a video, a man in a uniform can be heard saying: “This is getting out of hand now.
“I can’t see our damn cars anymore. I want the cops to shoot the s**t out of everybody out there now.”
A CNN crew embedded with police knew it was working with secret cameras.
They first filmed officers shoving Zongo. CNN claims that shortly afterwards, one officer wrote down in his notebook: “Open up, now!”
Images show zipping gun casings as police then drew out their weapons and began firing rubber pellets at the group.
Zongo was shot in the neck and back with a bean bag round. He died two days later.
Shortly after, the police officer filmed told a witness that the scene was like something from a film.
“You see this? I’m not seeing this with my own eyes,” he said.
“This is a regular movie scene. All these people fighting and getting physical. But all that white girl got to come get knocked out.”
The report goes on to say that during a patrol of the area in question, police spotted a group of activists.
“The situation was either going to end quietly or it was going to end in a very violent end. They were going to let the demonstrators go and then see what this looks like after a while.”
An eyewitness to the arrest told CNN he saw officers using “admirable restraint” to protect their officers.
The CNN investigation also raises questions about the conduct of police of racial minorities.
At least two black protesters who filmed the arrest are both having their video footage reposted online, CNN says.
Those protesters say they have been threatened by Instagram users.
Video footage from one of the filming activists alleges that within minutes of the arrest, a crowd began to gather, saying officers had fired a gun into the air.
It has been posted to Twitter with the message: “The protesters are certainly well organized and some of them have a good knowledge of NYC street politics.”
Race relations in New York
Image copyright Rene Farber Image caption It is believed Zongo was shot after he fled an earlier incident
In the CNN report, Black Lives Matter New York founder Kalief Browder questions what happened to Zongo, adding “this city has become a police state”.
Rene Farber, the CNN reporter who made the report, wrote: “The shooting death of Ousmane Zongo was the end of a dangerous pattern of Baltimore Police Department officers shooting unarmed young black men – sometimes intentionally.”
Zongo and his friends had been posing for photographs when they were stopped by police officers.
Zongo was not suspected of any crime, but instead was stopped for being “suspicious”.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Zongo’s death has provoked outrage
Co-plaintiff Nathan Carey, an activist in New York who was in the room at the time of the shooting, says the officer was acting aggressively towards African Americans in the area.
“We’re talking about a scene of a person that is unarmed,” said Mr Carey.
“Did any of us deserve to be shot, and were we resisting police officers?”