Trial of Cop Who Punched Man at Apple Store Begins

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A trial is underway for NYPD officer Salvatore Provenzano, who was indicted in July 2023 for punching a man at the Upper West Side Apple store in 2021. Provenzano is facing a third-degree assault charge for allegedly punching a disorderly customer while attempting to remove him from the store at 67th and Broadway.

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“My client reasonably believed he was about to be hit,” Provenzano’s lawyer said in an opening statement, according to Gothamist. “He hit him so as not to be hit.”

Further details of the incident were shared at Provenzano’s arraignment last year, which ILTUWS reported on at the time:

“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.

Assistant District Attorney Jana Loeb, presenting on behalf of District Attorney Alvin Bragg, had the following to say in her opening statement:

“Force is a legitimate and essential tool of policing, and officers have authority to use it. But only under certain circumstances, only in accordance with the law. … With that punch, Officer Provenzano committed a crime.”

Justice Maxwell Wiley will rule over the case as Provenzano chose a trial without jury.

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Gothamist reported on how the 2021 Apple Store incident unfolded based on body cam footage shown in court.

The disorderly customer, Kamal Cheikhaoui, was arguing with six police officers and indicating he wanted to file a report.

“Being aggressive, it’s not a crime,” Cheikhaoui can reportedly be heard saying in the body cam footage. “I’m disputing with you peacefully.”

Provenzano then grabs Cheikhaoui’s wrist and escorts him toward the door with the other officers. “Don’t touch me with your hands,” Cheikhaoui says.

Provenzano then strikes Cheikhaoui in the face. Cheikhaoui falls and can be heard crying out in pain.

“Don’t swing at me,” Provenzano says. “Now you’re going to the hospital.”

The group of officers then handcuffed Cheikhaoui on the floor as he called out that his eyes hurt and he couldn’t breath. Yelena Ast, another officer at the scene, said in court that another officer used pepper spray on Cheikhaoui.

Since the incident, Cheikhaoui has reportedly sued New York City, the police officers and Apple. Provenzano is currently on modified duty.


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  1. Corkie April 20, 2024

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