NYPD officer accused of punching man while trying to remove him from Apple store
A police officer was indicted and is accused of punching a man while attempting to remove him from the Apple store on the Upper West Side, where he was reportedly harassing customers.
Officer Salvatore Provenzano responded to the Apple store at 1981 Broadway on Oct. 19, 2021, on a report of a person bothering customer.
The person had a history of harassing shoppers and authorities say the man was banned from the store but was once again causing mayhem.
Provenzano and other officers assigned to the 20th Precinct talked to the man for 40 minutes and tried to reason with him.
As the store was closing for the night, Provenzano tried to escort him out and grabbed the man’s right arm and pulled away.
“When the individual pulled out of the defendant’s grasp and turned toward the exit, the defendant struck the individual on the left side of his face, causing him substantial pain,” court documents said.
PBA attorney Stuart London said the officer thought he was about to be struck. The entire incident was captured on several officers’ body cameras.
Provenzano was arraigned on an indictment for assault Wednesday morning and is suspended without pay.
Prosecutors said in court they offered Provenzano the opportunity to plead guilty to harassment, a violation.
There was a strong show of support for the officer outside the district attorney’s office — including a large video truck with a message to DA Alvin Bragg.
PBA President Patrick Hendry called the indictment a travesty of justice.
“I want to speak to the people here in Manhattan, especially our business owners, whether you own a large business or small business, you need to lock your doors to repeat offenders, those who repeatedly steal from you, those who repeatedly harass and assault your staff,” Hendry said. “Those individuals who cause mayhem and destroy your stores and force your customers to leave. DA Bragg is not on your side. He’s on the side of the repeat offenders and you need to close your doors, you cannot try to remove someone from your store, you cannot try to remove a shoplifter from your store, a disorderly from your store because you will be arrested. And when you call 911 for that police officer to protect you, that police officer will be arrested and will be indicted.”
Bragg issued a statement saying in part, “We work in close partnership with the NYPD…those sworn to uphold the law must be held accountable.”
Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, who was with the department for more than four decades, said it simply doesn’t make sense.
“If someone broke free from my removal, I would take that as an act of aggression and a prelude to an assault,” Boyce said. “Time and time again we see this where, we see little things in the city falling apart, and this is part of that. Police are there to maintain public order.”
In October 2012, Provenzano and his partner were the first to respond to the Upper West Side apartment where nanny Yoselyn Ortega fatally stabbed two children. He testified at her trial.
Provenzano is the second police officer to be indicted for assault in Manhattan in recent months for punching a suspect during an arrest.
NYPD Officer Juan Perez was indicted for allegedly punching an individual in the face six times in November 2021.