A video allegedly showing a plainclothes officer trying to humiliate an immigrant Uber driver about speaking English has prompted the New York Police Department to conduct an investigation, the New York Daily News reported on Tuesday.
In the video, the officer who pulled over the Uber driver allegedly hurled insults at him, including about the way he spoke.
“Stop it with your mouth!” the man could be heard shouting at the driver. “Stop it with your ‘For what, sir? For what, sir?’ Stop it with that bullshit and realize the three vehicle traffic law violations you committed! Okay?! Do you understand me?! I don’t know what fucking planet you think you’re on right now!”
“I’m not planning, sir,” the driver said. “I’m here.”
“Planning?! I said ‘planet!’ I said ‘planet!'” the man could be heard saying before slamming the driver’s side door.
The passengers who recorded the incident commiserated with the driver and could be heard telling the driver it wasn’t his fault and talking about how out of control the officer was being. According to the conversation, the incident was sparked by the driver honking at the officer who was attempting to park along the street but didn’t have a blinker on.
In the video, the officer returned to the car and continued to yell at the driver when the driver attempted to agree with him.
“Now let me tell you something, the next time you do it again, you’re getting your” the officer could be heard shouting, before the driver said “okay.”
“Okay, what?!” the officer screamed. “You gonna let me fucking finish?!!! Stop interrupting me!”
“Okay,” the driver could be heard saying. “Apologize. I’m sorry.”
“Well, who do you think you’re talking to here?!” the man shouted.
The verbal attack continued as the video shifted to show the man’s face.
“How long have you been in this country?!” the officer asked at one point. “I got news for you! And use this lesson! Remember this in the future! Don’t ever do that again! The only reason you’re not in handcuffs going to jail and getting summonses in the precinct is because I have things to do! That’s the only reason that’s not happening! ‘Cause this isn’t important enough for me! You’re not important enough! Don’t ever do that again!”
The Uber driver, who was pulled over on Monday in the West Village of New York City, reported the altercation to the NYPD who assigned the case to the Internal Affairs Bureau, according to the Daily News. Officials are reportedly attempting to ascertain whether the officer was a member of the NYPD or an outside agency since the driver wasn’t given a summons, according to what Uber told the Daily News.
A spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed that the driver’s complaint had been reported to IAB, the Daily News reported. The department also issued a statement about the incident, obtained by the Daily News, which said: “Based upon our initial review of the video, we cannot determine if the male is a member of the NYPD.”
The video was reportedly posted to Facebook and YouTube by a man who said he was a passenger in the vehicle during the incident. Sanjay Seth identified his driver as “Humayun” and wrote a post describing the incident.
“Our Uber driver, Humayun, was abused by a police officer today in New York. The rage, door slamming, throwing items into the car, threatening arrest without cause was bad enough — but the officer’s remarks at the end really took it to another level.”
The Daily News could not reach him for comment.
Watch the video below, courtesy of YouTube: