Cops rally around punching policeman


Terence O’Toole didn’t mince words last week when he called a 16-year-old bicycle theft suspect a “scourge on the Bronx,” and justified a viral video of one of his 50th Precinct police officers repeatedly punching that teenager in the head by showing The Riverdale Press his lengthy rap sheet. 

“He’s going to fight with police for the rest of his life, guaranteed,” O’Toole said at the time. “And the next cop that he encounters may have to shoot him because he is going to fail to comply. Because that is going to be his lifestyle forever.”

Alfred Burns, who is now awaiting trial on Rikers Island, had some previous run-ins with the police, according to O’Toole. In the video shot earlier this month in Marble Hill, the teen got physical with one of the officers and, the precinct’s top cop said, the use of force from that officer’s partner was warranted. 

The comments were surprising to some, especially in social media, where debates over alleged police brutality rage on. In fact, police treatment of suspects — especially minority suspects — has become so widely criticized, the national anthem at NFL games has been a hotbed of controversy as players kneel or join arms in solidarity against what they say is institutional mistreatment by law enforcement.

But not everyone was critical of O’Toole. Some, including current and former members of the New York Police Department — took to Facebook to herald O’Toole as “a real cop’s boss.”

One of those people was Lt. Richard Khalaf, a cop working in Midtown who posted online saying he appreciated O’Toole would defend his officer after a video of Burns’ arrest went viral, showing one of the officers punching the teenager in the back of the head 13 times in a little more than two minutes.

“Nothing more empowering than a commanding officer who has the backs of those who work for him,” Khalaf said. “I don’t know this man, but I respect him as a leader.”


Finding publicity

Khalaf himself is no stranger to the news. Last year, one of his subordinates filed a lawsuit against the NYPD alleging the department’s “English only” policy targeted her for speaking Spanish at work. At the time, Khalaf told reporters that officer, Jessenia Guzman, was “very disrespectful” to supervisors.

This past May, however, Khalaf found his way into New York tabloids again after a run-in with a Metropolitan Transportation Authority clerk after claiming that clerk failed to open the gate in time for Khalaf to stop a shoplifter he was chasing. 

Some other posts, like one from Peter Calamera, who is a musician, according to his Facebook profile, levied praise at O’Toole for not taking the stance of top NYPD leadership, which has touted increased transparency, community policing and improved training techniques to minimize use of force when it isn’t absolutely necessary. 

“Finally the NYPD leadership is growing a set,” he said. “This is a man I would want to work for any day.”

Elizabeth McGrory Manning who was a police officer between 1992 and 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile, stated on social media she was proud to have worked for O’Toole after his response to the incident, calling him ”a real cop’s boss.” 


Not everyone happy

But there are some community members who not only have expressed their disgust for how Burns was treated, but they want both O’Toole and the officer who threw the punches to be fired. 

“If the NYPD is serious about changing its approach to policing, then it must recognize that this incident compromises the trust and goodwill of the communities it serves,” wrote Ryan Elivo, a member of North Bronx Racial Justice, in an opinion piece published in this week’s Riverdale Press. “We will not stand by when police brutality occurs in our neighborhoods. We will not stand by when a police officer assaults a minor, risking brain injury and death. We will not stand by when a commanding officer of the 50th Precinct makes statements that can be interpreted as an incitement to his own officers to shoot a boy he dismisses as a ‘scourge of the Bronx.’”

Elivo wrote that on behalf of not just the community advocacy group, but also religious leaders from St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, New Day Church and the Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture.

For O’Toole’s part, he said he has had enough publicity for one story, claiming to have received several phone calls last weekend thanking him for his comments. 

“Apparently the story went nationwide, I don’t know who did that,” he said. “I got calls from people I’ve known from all over the country thanking me for what I said.” 


Not fazed at all

Despite being aware of the criticisms from groups like North Bronx Racial Justice, O’Toole said he hasn’t experienced any blowback from his superiors in the NYPD. He singled out one of the group’s members, Jennifer Scarlott, who commented critically on The Press’ website about Burns’ arrest and O’Toole’s comments. 

“Yeah, Jennifer disagrees with me,” he said. “That’s fine, she is allowed to disagree with me.”

The incident that started all this took place Oct. 6 around 9 a.m., after 50th Precinct cops told Burns — who they say stole a bicycle — he was under arrest. He reportedly tackled an officer near West 225th Street in Marble Hill, and tried to put his hands around the officer’s neck. That officer’s partner then jumped on top of him, which is where the video circulating the internet picks up. 

Burns, pinned between the two officers, is not able to move as the top officer punches him in the head 13 times, to the dismay of the crowd of onlookers who gathered to see the kerfuffle. 

Afterward, O’Toole told The Press that police are allowed to use force when necessary. “It looks awful, but it’s lawful,” he said. “If you are placed under arrest, then you comply.”

Three cops were involved in the incident, including an unidentified female officer who appears to stop the officer from punching in the video in order to put handcuffs on Burns. One of the officers, although O’Toole didn’t say which, was expected to be back on duty by Monday, but the other would be out sick for two weeks.

The incident, however, is under investigation by the department’s internal affairs unit.

Burns has since been charged with resisting arrest, criminal possession of stolen property, assaulting a police officer and petty larceny.


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Once again I will say that as a Progressive Libertarian who despises most Gevernmental authority, the police were 110% right in this instance. And I'm someone who fought for the rights of the Baez family back in the 90's and celebrated the day the roided up psychopath Livoti went to jail for that crime. But in this case again the police were 100% correct. This thug is basically a predator on society and got what he deserved. He is very lucky the police showed such restraint because his hands were pinned around the neck of another police officer and deadly force was probably justified.

As for these leftist groups protesting this, ahh go suck an egg. No one takes your side seriously anymore and it was heartening to see O'Toole dismiss thier stance with such disdain. The next time any of of these people is a victim of a violent crime such as assault or robbery, I suggest they try to tell the perp a bedtime story with milk and cookies and see how far that gets them.

Maybe then some sanity will be restored to their side. After all, how can anyone take seriously people who actually were sad a lying, murdering, rapist enabling, drug dealing, pedophilic and all around sick person HIlary wasn't elected president. Oh and by the way, now we are finding out a lot more about Russian collusion.......with Obama and the Clintons for uranium. I wonder why the media is ignoring this story. The alt-media is all over it as usual.

Friday, October 20, 2017
John Nimby

Is there a video-tape of the kid seeing if he could fit his hands around the ociffer's neck?

The Nimby granddaughter at college with the pink and blue hair was saying to Mrs. Nimby the other day that sometimes the tapes don't match the official story.

Officer O'Toole must have grown up somewhere fancy. When I was 16 all of us drank and smoke and stole and raised hell in the neighborhood. We didn't have rap sheets though. If they caught you they'd take you home or tell the priest. Wonder why they don't do that anymore.

| Friday, October 20, 2017
Democrap 4 life

It is a shame how minorities in the NFL are so abused and under paid and are taken full advantage of. by the white elitists

I feel these slaves of the NFL system should quit and move to a country that would give them a better life style such as Uganda , Somali or any other African nation

Disgraceful someone who is thief is actually arrested as this is what savages do. God forbid he worked to buy his own toys

Riverdale has a lot of liberals who I am sure would not mind having their children mugged or beaten as long as the low life thief is not held accountable for their actions as we turn the other cheek as we do with our local politicians

I am sure Mr. Berns will be an amazing politician in the democratic community in the near future and follow the foot steps of other amazing democratic leaders such as Wild Bill and Hellery and Anthony, and Sheldon and Weinstein , the "rev" knock them up Jackson and all the other degenerates that make me so proud to be a democrap 4 life

Friday, October 20, 2017
Jennifer Scarlott

Riverdale Press readers concerned about this incident and the topic of police brutality generally may want to read the op-ed co-signed by community members including myself, as well as a number of local clergy, in this week's edition of the paper:,63815?

Friday, October 20, 2017
Jennifer Scarlott

Two 50th precinct cops are stripped of their guns and shields and consigned to desk duty after engaging in a physical altercation inside the station. However, a still anonymous 50th precinct cop who punched an immobilized youth in the head 13 times on October 6, and Commanding Officer Terence O'Toole, who made dangerous public statements about the incident, remain at their posts.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

@ Scarlotte, nice try, but if you're trying to argue that some police are absolute scum and need to be stripped of your guns, the 50's called and wants its news story back. But it doesn't change the fact that the so-called "immobilized youth" was trying to choke the life of a Police officer and as such had to be subdued with physical force.

Friday, October 27, 2017
John Nimby

The RIVERDALE PRESS might want to send an enterprising reporter down to the Five-Oh to count the "VOTE NO" stickers on patrol cars.

| Tuesday, November 7, 2017