Man Acquitted after Biting Off NYPD Cop's Finger During Beating
A Brooklyn man accused of biting off and eating an NYPD police officer's finger was acquitted on all charges stemming from the incident on Monday after video showing several officers beating him inside a jail cell during the incident conflicted with the official police narrative.
"He's very happy," Michael Biniakewitz, Ainsley Johnson's defense attorney told the New York Daily News after the acquittal.
"His baby was born on Friday and he was released on Monday so he was able to bring his son home."
Johnson, 34, who spent seven months in jail on the charge, was arrested April 6 for criminal mischief for allegedly smashing the windows of a BMW and damaging a homeowner's mailbox and transferred to the 69th Precinct.
Once at the jail, police said Johnson began arguing with New York City police officer Michael Hawk, who was attempting to handcuff him.
Officer Hawk told Johnson to face towards the wall in order to be searched.
Johnson refused, police claim.
Instead, officers say Johnson tossed a hoodie at Hawk.
That's when officer Hawk and Johnson fell to the ground in an altercation.
Several officers arrived to assist.
When Johnson calls out for an inmate in the adjacent jail cell to remember his name as he's being beaten, officer Hawk covers his mouth attempting to silence him.
That's when Johnson chomped down and bit the tip of officer Hawk's middle finger "from tip to nail."
Johnson bit officer Hawk's fingertip until "the skin and muscle to said finger was detached," according to an arrest affidavit.
Officers searched for the fingertip, but later determined Johnson swallowed it during the fight after their search efforts failed to locate it.
Officers charged Johnson with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
However, the surveillance footage from inside the jail told an entirely different story, according to Biniakewitz.
"It’s as clear as day Johnson was not resisting and cooperative when the officer threw him to the ground," he said.
"When he was on the floor, his hands were underneath him, but, with four cops sitting on him, prosecutors wanted the jury to believe my client was able to purposely move his face to the officer’s hand to bite him."
"Every cop on cross admitted that his hands were behind him."
After deliberating for an hour, the jury decided not only to acquit Johnson but to also dismiss the charges of damaging the car, which led to the clash with police, due to lack of evidence.
Hawk is currently back on full duty.
Footage of the incident is above but at this time, the video showing the beginning of the attack is not included, and it is not clear if the actual biting incident takes place in that video.
We will upload more video as it becomes available.