NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police are investigating a plainclothes officer who appears to punch a teen-aged black boy during an arrest that was captured on video and widely circulated on the Internet, the department said on Friday.
The posting of the footage follows days of U.S. protests over recent cases of police violence toward unarmed black men, including one in which a New York City man died after an officer placed him in a banned chokehold.
"The incident is under review and the allegations have been referred to our Internal Affairs Bureau," New York Police Department spokeswoman Sophia Mason said in an email.
In the eight-minute video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, a plainclothes white officer can be seen rushing up to several uniformed officers struggling to handcuff a black boy and apparently striking him at least twice. Police said the boy is 16 years old.
Several bystanders, including the person filming the altercation, yell at the officer to stop.
The footage then shows a second person, who onlookers tell police is a 12-year-old boy, being handcuffed.
As the boys are led away to patrol vehicles, one can be heard asking the officers: "What did we do? Can I hear what we did?"
The boys were being arrested on suspicion of assaulting someone and using a cane in the attack, Mason said.
Police did not say when the arrests occurred but the person who posted the video footage said they happened on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Richard Chang)