Gothamist reports that freelance photographer JB Nicholas was following Thomas Crowe, NFL's head of security — and Commissioner Roger Goodell's driver — in New York on September 17th when Crowe knocked him off his bike twice and ran over his foot with a 2014 Cadillac Escalade, then exited the SUV, tackled him while he was sitting down, punched him in the face, jammed his forearm into his neck and choked him — and allegedly falsely identified himself as a cop, presumably so Nicholas would not fight back.
"I saw the driver get out of his car very aggressively, grab the photographer, and shout 'You're under arrest, I'm a policeman!'" says Joshua Holland, who witnessed the encounter while he was walking his dog.
"The driver pulled the photographer off his bike, wrestled him to the ground in the median, and punched him in the face once. Then he was on top of him holding him down with an arm bar, a forearm jammed into his neck," Holland says...Holland, the witness, says he saw the driver exit the vehicle. "The driver was just in a crazy rage; a lot of people stopped in the street and were shouting 'get off that guy!' "
The police arrived and charged Nicholas with second degree assault, a felony, and third degree assault and criminal mischief, both misdemeanors. According to the criminal complaint, Nicholas punched the SUV driver in the face enough to cause swelling and redness, threw his bike at the driver and hit his knee, requiring treatment at a hospital, and keyed the SUV, causing more than $250 in damages.
Nicholas says the police on the scene ignored at least two eyewitnesses, who told them that Nicholas was not the aggressor.
"Crowe and [the commanding officer] greeted each other with a handshake and put their arms on each other's shoulders," Nicholas says. "Then Crowe gets into his car and drives away."
...At New York Presbyterian Hospital, Nicholas says he was given some Advil and told that nothing was broken. At the 17th Precinct, he gave a written statement to detectives, and returned from a bathroom break to see a detective tearing up his statement and throwing it in the trash.
...The Daily News retained [attorney Jeffrey] Emdin to represent Nicholas. Emdin says that the name of Nicholas's complainant was removed from the complaint report, so technically he does not know who is pressing charges against his client.
An NFL spokesman referred a request for comment to the NYPD and the DA.