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New York police use a stun gun on a migrant carrying a child


Alina Prikhodko

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New York authorities are investigating a conflict at a city migrant shelter in Queens. According to New York Times, police used a stun gun on a Venezuelan migrant who was holding his one-year-old son.

Video footage shows two police officers called to the shelter on Friday, March 8, trying to restrain 47-year-old Yanni Cordero. The man pressed his back against the closed elevator door and tightly hugged the child who was in his arms. One of the officers pulled out a stun gun and stunned the migrant, then struck him in the head.

The police continued to restrain the man after they took the child from him. They pressed his head to the table, trying to knock him to the floor. A third officer got involved and hit Cordero twice in the face, after which law enforcement officers twisted the unfortunate man’s hands and arrested him.
“This is violence, brother! – the author of the video shouted in Spanish. - Don't hit him! Don't hit him! This is cruel treatment! Where are human rights?”


New York City officials are investigating a confrontation at a city-run shelter in Queens where police officers were struck and used a stun gun on a Venezuelan migrant while he was holding his 1-year-old son. Video footage obtained by The New York Times shows two police officers, who had been called to the shelter Friday night over a dispute, trying to restrain the man, Yanny Cordero, 47, while he was backed against a closed elevator door at the shelter, his child held tightly in his arms. The police said they were responding to a call about a dispute involving an intoxicated man who was threatening staff members. They said that the officers gave Cordero multiple warnings and commands to hand the child to someone else. Cordero was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and violent behavior, obstructing government administration and acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17.

♬ original sound – The New York Times

Who's right and who's wrong

Police responded to a call from the shelter because staff said a drunken migrant was threatening them. The patrol officers who arrived at the scene repeatedly warned the lawbreaker and asked him to hand over the child he was holding in his arms to someone else.

Cordero said he didn't drink that night because he had to work the next day. According to him, the quarrel began when he returned to the shelter with dinner for his family. A shelter employee allegedly hit him in the face near the elevator when he tried to communicate in English.

On the subject: Migrants don't want to leave New York, even if they are given free plane and bus tickets

The migrant was charged with resisting arrest, disturbing public order and violent behavior, obstructing government agencies and actions causing harm to a child under 17 years of age. Police also arrested and charged his wife, 23-year-old Andrea Parra. As follows from the video, she threw herself between her husband and the police.

After the parents were arrested, their one-year-old son Yusneid and two other boys, ages 3 and 5, were taken away by the city's child welfare agency. The couple were released on Saturday evening, almost 24 hours after the conflict. On Monday, March 11, they were reunited with their children. The family was moved to a shelter in Brooklyn.

The authorities' response

“We are aware of the incident that happened to the family. They were under our care in a refugee shelter,” the press secretary of the mayor’s office said in a statement. “The health and safety of all migrants in our care, especially young children, is our top priority. The matter is under investigation."

Police said little Eusnade was not injured, but Cordero said the altercation affected the toddler. “He was shaking, shitting himself and wetting himself,” the migrant said. The Police Department did not answer questions about whether it believed the officers acted correctly or provide footage from their body cameras.

Mayor Eric Adams defended the officers' conduct, saying he discussed the case with the police commissioner and concluded the officers acted appropriately. He said Mr Cordero had been “aggressive” and “volatile”, although he denies this.

“The detainee was intoxicated and holding a child in his arms,” Adams noted. “The officers had to take the child away from him so as not to endanger him.”

It is unclear from the video footage that was leaked online what happened immediately before the conflict began.

Migrant version

Cordero, who has worked part-time in construction since arriving in New York, said he left the shelter around 10 p.m. to buy food because his family didn't like what the shelter was serving. According to him, his wife was left with three children in the room where they had been living since December.

When he returned to the hall with the food, a shelter worker told him in English that he could not take the food into the room. This is the shelter's policy - it is aimed at reducing the infection rate. Some migrants at the shelter said staff regularly throw away food and drinks they find in the rooms.

Cordero said he tried to use a translation app on his phone to tell the employee that he was going to the cafeteria to eat the meat and rice he had bought and that his family would be coming down to see him. The employee called his colleague, who was hostile and suddenly hit the migrant in the face.

Cordero did not strike back, but rather put his hands behind his back and began taunting the employee in Spanish to hit him again while he was defenseless. Andry Barreto, a Venezuelan migrant who recorded the video, confirmed his words. He saw a shelter employee hit Cordero and decided to film the entire incident on his phone.

Cordero's wife showed up with their three children around the time police arrived and gave baby Yusneid to her husband.

The police struck the migrant several times with a stun gun, but, according to him, he did not feel anything.

“I didn’t lay my hand on anyone,” Cordero said. “I didn’t tell the police anything other than not to touch my child.”

The couple said that after their release from custody, they were allowed to communicate with their children only by video call. They spent Sunday trying to get the children back.

“I am very sad because my children went through something they should never have to go through,” the migrant noted. “We are poor, but we raised them well and tried to make sure they avoid such sights.”

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