Police Take-down Sparks Curbside Debate on Criminal Justice in Kingsbridge

Police Take-down Sparks Curbside Debate on Criminal Justice in Kingsbridge
by David Greene

Police restrain and question accused shoplifter Ronald Kinard outside of Duane Read on East Kingsbridge Road.–Photo by David Greene

A minor shoplifting arrest and two citizen-journalists video taping the officers’ scuffle with the man– sparked a heated, curbside debate over the NYPD’s use-of-force, the criminal justice system and the First Amendment rights of citizen journalists among a small group of strangers in Kingsbridge.

Officers from the 52nd Precinct were called to the Duane Reade, located at 1 East Kingsbridge Road, for a report of a “shoplifter being held by security,” at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, December 16.

The officers escorted the man out the store and as they searched him, he could be heard telling them, “I didn’t take anything.” The officers then attempted to handcuff him when a scuffle ensued. After several minutes, the three patrolman wrestled the man to the ground and eventually putting him into handcuffs.

Among the dozen witnesses was an elderly woman and a young man who were observed video taping the arrest, the woman was so close to one officer that she could have touched him. The officer displayed professionalism and focused on his job and getting the suspect in the vehicle.

One woman defending the officers, told the elderly woman, “Get your facts straight before you start accusing,” adding that the man in custody had stolen something from the store and had assaulted the security guard.

Asked if she knew the man and why she was video-taping the arrest, the elderly woman replied, “I don’t know him and I recorded it because it was abuse,” sparking a more intense debate under the elevated subway on Jerome Avenue.

The unidentified man then told the elderly woman, “Well I know that guy and he’s a thief and he will slip his hand in your pocketbook if he could.”

The security guard then chimed in and asked the woman to stop recording, which then directed the conversation in the direction of First Amendment rights and how everyone with a cellphone are now citizen journalists.

An elderly woman video tapes police as they arrest alleged shoplifter Ronald Kinard, 37, at East Kingsbridge Road and Jerome Avenue.–Photo by David Greene

The suspect was eventually placed in a police vehicle, one officer then slammed the door in anger, when one female observer noted the officer’s anger and the suspects immediate future, offered, “There going to beat his ass when he gets to the station-house,” which brought a snicker to most of the faces who remained.

Offering few details, police identified the alleged “hairbrush” thief as Ronald Kinard, 37, of 40 Richman Plaza. Kinard was charged with petit larceny, resisting arrest and criminal possession of stolen property. Apparently the security guard declined to press charges for assault.

A curbside debate on criminal justice breaks out after a shoplifting arrest on East Kingsbridge Road.–Photo by David Greene

The NYPD confirms that Kinard has multiple prior arrests, “mostly for drugs and theft.”

Attempts to reach Kinard were not immediately successful.

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