An NYPD officer has been indicted for committing an assault at the Upper West Side Apple Store about two years ago.
Officer Salvatore Provenzano and other officers assigned to the 20th Precinct responded to a call about a man harassing customers inside the Apple store (1981 Broadway) on October 19, 2021.
The man, who was known to employees, had been banned from the store for repeatedly bothering customers, and was asked to leave as officers attempted to reason with him for 40 minutes.
As captured on several officer’s body cameras, Provenzano tried to escort the man out of the store as it was closing and grabbed his right arm. The man pulled out of Provenzano’s grasp, and Provenzano then “struck the man on the left side of his face, causing him substantial pain,” said Assistant District Attorney Tavish Deatley at Provenzano’s arraignment.
Provenzano pleaded not guilty to third-degree assault in Manhattan Supreme Court. “All this officer did was attempt to escort him out of the location. As he puts his hand on his elbow to have him leave, he immediately flings his arm back [and] tenses his body, and this officer reasonably thought he was gonna be struck, and he hits him one time, and he goes down with no injury at all,” said Stuart London, Provenzano’s attorney, outside the courthouse on July 19, 2023.
Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, who has over 40 years of experience, also defended Provenzano’s actions. “If someone broke free from my removal, I would take that as an act of aggression and a prelude to an assault,” Boyce said.
The Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has vehemently condemned the charges. “DA Bragg is not on your side,” said PBA President Patrick Hendry. “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, 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.”
.@ManhattanDA Alvin Bragg is not on the side law-abiding NYers. He’s not on the side of the police officers who risk our lives every day to protect this city. He is on the side of violent criminals and repeat offenders. pic.twitter.com/2kyEAAWvIl
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) July 20, 2023
At the time of the incident, the officer was offered the opportunity to plead down to a harassment violation, which would leave him with no criminal record or threat of jail time, but Provenzano declined the offer. He is the second officer indicted for assault in recent months.
Provenzano has been an officer since 2007 and is suspended without pay.