Friday’s 3D 13 Dimensional Dance Party at the Bushwick collective Surreal Estate became infamous yesterday, as video circulated of what appeared to be a plainclothes police officer threatening a civilian with imprisonment and rape. (“You’re gonna go to jail, and you’re gonna get abused in jail. The guys in jail are gonna rape you,” the alleged officer says to the cameraman, Vladimir Teichberg.) Needless to say, outrage swiftly followed, at Gothamist, Gawker, and here, among other places. Now, however, the NYPD have responded, saying that the tie-dyed psychopath who appears on Teichberg’s tape is not a police officer at all. Said a department spokesperson to us just now: “He’s not a cop. That guy with the iPhone and tie-dye? Not a cop.” The spokesperson, Detective Cheryl Crispin, went on to tell us that “he was a drunken guy who ended up getting a summons,” shortly after getting kicked out of a club and stumbling over to Surreal Estate, where he began threatening Teichberg. Crispin was adamant: “The individual in the video who is making the statements that you are referring to is not an NYPD officer,” she said.
So we called Teichberg for clarification. “We’ll see,” he told us. “Anything’s possible.” But Teichberg continues to believe the man was a police officer, claiming that another, uniformed officer had introduced him as such, and that “the fact that he was threatening to arrest me and saying he was a police officer in front of other police officers” is proof that the guy was in fact a cop.
“At the end of the video there is footage of him with another officer flirting with girls,” Teichberg alleges, and indeed, you can hear someone say “he’s one of our undercover officers” at around the 6:48 mark. That may or may not be a joke though, and immediately afterwards, the so-called undercover can be seen folding up what looks a lot like a summons and placing it in his own back pocket. That seems likely to be the same summons the NYPD are now saying they gave the man that night.
Even if the guy was not a cop, Teichberg says he remains incensed: “When he was threatening me, he was doing it right in front of another officer,” he told us. “So they’re basically saying that they just stood there while a drunk guy threatened me, and did nothing?”