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Officer charged in beating of man at New York homeless shelter

New York cop is arrested after he was caught on surveillance video beating and stomping on a homeless man’s head after he was wrestled to the ground

  • Cordell Fitts, 34, was arrested on Thursday following the incident at the Manhattan homeless shelter on March 6, 2017 
  • Surveillance video showed Fitts beating and stomping on a man’s head after he was wrestled to the ground
  • Fitts was a police sergeant for the New York City Department of Homeless Services at the time
  • He has been charged with using excessive force and falsifying a police report so he could justify the assault 

A former police sergeant in New York has been arrested after surveillance video showed him beating and stomping on a homeless man’s head after he was wrestled to the ground. 

Cordell Fitts, 34, was taken into custody on Thursday following the altercation with the man at the Bellevue Men’s Homeless Shelter in Manhattan two years ago. 

Fitts, who was a police sergeant for the New York City Department of Homeless Services, was also charged with falsifying a police report. 

Surveillance video from the incident on March 6, 2017 showed Fitts in the lobby of the homeless shelter with other law enforcement officers. 

Cordell Fitts, 34, (right) was taken into custody on Thursday following the altercation with the man (left with patterned pants) at the Bellevue Men’s Homeless Shelter in Manhattan in 2017

Fitts and a man in the lobby, who was seeking help at the shelter, could be seen exchanging words. 

He was caught on camera putting his hands on the man’s chest before the man responded by throwing punches at the officer.  

Fitts and the other officers wrestled him to the ground, the surveillance video shows.

While standing up, Fitts punched the man in the head and he kicked and stomped on his head nearly a dozen times.

As the other officers were placing the man in handcuffs, Fitts was caught on video approaching him and punching him an additional two times.  

In his police report, Fitts wrote that the use of force was ‘necessary’ to ‘safely detain’ the man. Fitts also wrote in the report that the man had claimed to have stopped taking his psychiatric medications. 

Fitts, who was a police sergeant for the New York City Department of Homeless Services, was charged over the assault and for falsifying a police report

Fitts, who was a police sergeant for the New York City Department of Homeless Services, was charged over the assault and for falsifying a police report

Surveillance video from the incident on March 6, 2017 showed Fitts in the lobby of the homeless shelter with other law enforcement officers

Surveillance video from the incident on March 6, 2017 showed Fitts in the lobby of the homeless shelter with other law enforcement officers

Surveillance video shows Fitts and the other officers wrestling the man to the ground after an altercation. Fitts repeatedly punched the man in the head and he kicked and stomped on his head nearly a dozen times

Surveillance video shows Fitts and the other officers wrestling the man to the ground after an altercation. Fitts repeatedly punched the man in the head and he kicked and stomped on his head nearly a dozen times

A criminal complaint related to Fitts’ charges alleges that the police report included those fabrications to cover up and justify the assault. 

‘Fitts’ alleged conduct not only betrayed his duty as an officer to protect those under his charge, but also violated the law,’ Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.

New York’s Department of Investigations Commissioner Margaret Garnett added: ‘Instead of upholding the law, this sworn officer allegedly broke it by violently attacking a man seeking assistance at a Manhattan homeless shelter.

‘Shelters should provide a safe environment for the homeless of our City, not one where clients fear the officers employed to protect them.’ 

If convicted of both criminal charges against him, Fitts faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. He is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law through use of excessive force and falsifying a report.   

He was released from jail on bond after a court appearance on Thursday.  

As the other officers were placing the man in handcuffs, Fitts was caught on video (above) approaching him and punching him an additional two times

As the other officers were placing the man in handcuffs, Fitts was caught on video (above) approaching him and punching him an additional two times

The incident occurred at the Bellevue Men's Homeless Shelter in Manhattan in March 2017

The incident occurred at the Bellevue Men’s Homeless Shelter in Manhattan in March 2017

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk