Elsa Waithe says she could be out of work for weeks after an officer pushed her


Injured protester says officer bruised her ribs with ‘power shove’

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Talk about push coming to shove.

A violent shove by a police officer during a march caught on video near Grand Army Plaza last Tuesday left a Bedford-Stuyvesant woman writhing in pain on the pavement and potentially out of work for weeks, claims the victim who said when it happened, she thought the cop had fired his weapon at her.

“There was no stumbling, no losing footing, it was just a straight power shove and next thing I know I was on the ground with a very sharp pain down my side and back,” said Elsa Waithe. “For a moment I thought I had been shot.”

Waithe, who was volunteering with Cop Watch — a group that monitors interactions between police and citizens — said she was standing on the sidewalk near Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place when she saw police attempting to arrest a man around 7 pm. Waithe said she moved closer to observe the arrest, when she suddenly felt a “tremendous force” on her chest, which pushed her back and down onto a shin-high metal tree guard. The push, she said, was an unambiguous attack.

Waithe was taken to New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, where doctors told her she had badly bruised ribs and possible hairline fractures, and now the painter and part-time comedian says she won’t be able to work for the foreseeable future.

A police spokeswoman said the Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the altercation after a video, which shows a man pushing Waithe and the green-hatted legal observer to the ground, went viral in the hours following the protest. Waithe said did not know how widely the footage of her injury had spread until her worried father called to say he had seen the footage on television.

Waithe has retained a lawyer and declined to comment on any possible litigation against the city, but pointed out there would be a literal price to pay for her injuries.

“There are definitely going to be some bills coming,” she said. “You don’t get to hurt yourself for free in this country.”

She added that she will continue to speak out about the incident — when she is well enough.

“I’m not going to be quiet about this,” she said.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Me from Bay Ridge says:
The person in the jogging suit did the shove, per the video, not the uniformed officer.
April 18, 2015, 7:41 am
Nash Wildow from Bedford Stuyvesant says:
She loves to stick her nose where it doesn't belong. A police officer in the middle of an arrest is in a sensitive and potentially dangerous situation. Private citizens have no place butting in and disturbing them. I'd say to her 'how would you like if people came to "watch" you while you were working, with an intention to catch you making a mistake and then try to publically shame you and your coworkers'? However, being an unemployed hipster, collecting money from mommy and daddy, she'd have no idea what that's like!
April 18, 2015, 8:08 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Very short clip too. What happened before the shove?
April 18, 2015, 8:13 am
ty from pps says:
Nash -- Was this an arrest? Or just typical playground bullying? (something that is all too common with the boys in blue)

Your attitude basically suggests that the police should be unaccountable to mere "private citizens." Sad.
April 18, 2015, 10:06 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
guy in jump suit clearly shoved her - looking for the ghetto lottery i guess
April 18, 2015, 10:19 am
t.watson from norfolk says:
I know her personally. I grew up with this girl. Ages my sister my best friend. She is amazing in every way. She is a bit outspoken but shes brilliant. I may not have been there but i know she didn't cause that cops reaction to her. And Nash widow be quite. U r inadequate to judge her. And as far as her getting money from her parents. Wrong. She works and supports her self. I know because there have been many days she has been without.
April 18, 2015, 10:26 am
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
N Wildow says: "Private citizens have no place butting in and disturbing them. I'd say to her 'how would you like if people came to "watch" you while you were working, with an intention to catch you making a mistake ..."

I hope that you're kidding.
NYC isn't -- or isn't yet, or isn't supposed to be -- a police state.
April 18, 2015, 11:52 am
ProspectHeightsResident from Prospect Heights says:
The question should concern whether the man in the jogging suit is a cop (undercover). If not, this woman's claims, even without knowing what happened before the push, fall apart.
April 18, 2015, 11:59 am
ty from pps says:
The man in the jogging suit *IS* a cop. Old Time, you can just go... you know what. Being old doesn't excuse you from being civil.
April 18, 2015, 2:05 pm
E from Bedstuy says:
You have the right to observe and record all police activity.

His track jacket says NYPD.
April 18, 2015, 2:33 pm
jj from bushwick says:
The black guy in a sweatsuit shoved her not the cop. These people are a cancer to the city. Anyone who needs an ambulance for bruised ribs does not belong in NYC. I am tired of these whiney, no accountability, professional agitators. Between this idiot and the two girls suing the city over trama from the building explosion, I have to wonder, where the NY grit and guts I grew up with has gone...
April 18, 2015, 3:44 pm
boogie from fort greene says:
This chick was arrested during previous protests. Google her name. She is a professional agitator looking for a lawsuit or a fat collection to pay for her rest. I have gone to work with whiplash. She needs rest for bruised ribs?? These people are nuts.
April 18, 2015, 4 pm
Freda from So BK says:
jj and boogie - sockpuppet much?
April 18, 2015, 4:19 pm
ty from pps says:
I'll say it again, jj. The man in the sweatsuit *IS* a cop. So, you are correct, the cop in the uniform did not shove her to the ground. The cop in the sweatsuit shoved her to the ground.

And boogie -- You do know many protesters are arrested, right? And many protesters that have been arrested continue protesting. Were the folks that marches across the bridge in Selma, Alabama just "looking for a lawsuit or a fat collection"? They were probably just a bunch of professional agitators, right?

(sorry, you probably won't like that comparison because you probably don't think protesting overaggressive policing is a civil rights issue... or you're just a bigot... or both?)
April 18, 2015, 7:52 pm
TOM from Brooklyn says:
Equal to whiney, no accountabilty, repetitive agitators are whiney, no accountability, repetitive commenters.

A little follow-up professional reporting(with an unedited video) is very necessary ASAP. Noah, you have some 'splainin' to do!
April 20, 2015, 11:07 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: