Early morning Wednesday, a hip-hop CD release party in New York’s Lower East Side ended with the arrests of nearly half a dozen patrons, and at least five reported injuries to police officers. The incident has rocked New York’s legendary hip-hop community, with allegations flying that police brutalized patrons and them arrested some of them.
Party-goers at the Smif-n-Wessun and Pete Rock CD release party say the event inside the club was peaceful up until NYPD showed up. Five people were arrested and charged with, among other things, riot, assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Those who were arrested have come to be know as the "Monumental 5."
"The fight happened OUTSIDE the venue and the people involved in a fight OUTSIDE the venue were gone by the time the police arrived," according to YouTube member Wisdom360.
Police entered the venue and immediately began evacuating the premise using pepper spray, according to The Lo-Down NY.
Video footage taken by patrons show dozens of officers holding their flashlights and batons, many using them with seemingly little reservation. According to a tweet made by one of the artists at the event there were people who were beaten so bad they had to be hospitalized.
At 2:50 mark in the video above you can hear a woman screaming "get out of my face" before the first punch is thrown and then it seems like it’s just a series of cops using excessive force.
Gabriel Diaz is the woman believed to be in the video was interviewed by NY1. Her fiancé reportedly received 20 stitches after being beaten. "A female officer pushed me, wanted me to go in a certain direction towards pepper spray," said Diaz. "I didn’t want to go that way for obvious reasons. And then she just started getting belligerent and nasty. She pushed me to a fellow officer, and that’s when he blindsided me and hit me [with] his fist."
Also in the video above General Steele, a member of Smif N Wessun, says NYPD came in and created chaos. "They don’t identify with the people, they don’t identify with creating order or helping with order, they just want to move people ‘go here, go there’ and if you don’t do that they start beating on you."
General Steele tweeted Thursday afternoon reporting the "Monumental 5" have been released.