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NYPD Internal Affairs Investigates Controversial Sunset Park Arrest Caught On Video

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- NYPD Internal Affairs has launched an investigation after a controversial arrest caught on video in Brooklyn raised questions about the behavior of some NYPD officers.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 12, an emergency medical technician witnessed a man breaking into his vehicle and stealing his iPhone and other items, police said.

The EMT alerted police, and officers used the "Find My Phone" app to track down the suspect to a Sunset Park bodega, police said.

Surveillance video shows the EMT and two NYPD officers walking into the bodega and surrounding the suspect.

At one point, the EMT – who worked for a private agency and not for the FDNY – can be seen on the video roughing up the suspect, and the police officers let him. One of the officers even throws a couple of punches as they wrestle the suspect to the floor and arrest him, and the EMT recovers his stolen phone, CBS2's Sonia Rincon reported.

Police Commissioner Bratton discussed what he saw on the video, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.

"There is an incident that occurs during that time when the officers are attempting to arrest the suspect in which the EMT assaults the suspect," Bratton said. "And then a number of officers then proceed to arrest the suspect."

Dennis Flores, of the police watchdog group El Grito De Sunset Park, which obtained and posted the surveillance video, said something is wrong with this picture.

"It's appalling. It's disrespectful," he said. "Everybody is entitled to due process. If he did commit the crime and he didn't resist and he's being placed under arrest, all of that wasn't necessary."

Bratton said both NYPD Internal Affairs and Civilian Complaint Review Board will investigate.

The CCRB this week decided excessive force was used in the case of tennis star James Blake, who was taken to the ground by a cop in a mistake-identity arrest.

Flores noted that officers from the same precinct were involved in the rough arrest of a pregnant woman last year in the same neighborhood.

"There are no celebrities here in Sunset Park," he said. "James Blake is not here. We're not getting apologies. We're not getting any results. What we're just getting is empty promises about change."

The suspect — Daniel Shevchenko, 21, of Staten Island — was charged with grand larceny, unauthorized use of a vehicle, resisting arrest, and criminal possession of stolen property.

Court records show he has pleaded guilty five times in the last couple of years to stealing items from parked cars in Brooklyn, including the EMT case. He has also been arrested on drug charges and charges of assaulting his own mother at their house on Staten Island.

No one was home at Shevchenko's house Thursday. Neighbors who saw the video didn't have any sympathy for him.

"He got what he deserved," said Ray Gleim. "If you break in to my car, if  I come home and catch you, you're going to get a beating."

"Should've got a bigger ass kicking, if you ask me," said John Bislosky.

Shevchenko is due back in court for sentencing later this month.

The EMT is not facing any charges.

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