(Reuters) - The New York Police Department said on Tuesday it was investigating a report that two emergency medical technicians jumped in to stop four police officers who were punching a handcuffed patient.
The NYPD's Internal Affairs unit was looking into the report that the officers repeatedly struck a shackled and handcuffed patient on a stretcher before the New York Fire Deparment EMTs intervened to end the beating, an NYPD spokesman said.
He declined to confirm details of the July 20 incident at the 67th Precinct station house in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, which was first reported by the New York Daily News.
Fire Department officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Citing an FDNY report, the Daily News said the police officers and the EMTs had been called to the station house to help transport the patient, who was combative and banging his head against the wall, to a nearby hospital.
The emotionally disturbed patient spit on the officers and swore at them, and they responded by hitting him in the face, pulling him off the stretcher to the ground and then hurling him back onto the stretcher, the Daily News said.
An excerpt of the Fire Department report quoted in the Daily News said: "Pt. (patient) was struck in the face by an officer ... pt. Spit in the face of an officer, whereupon the officer punched the pt. in the face multiple times."
He spit at the officer again, and more officers started slugging him, the report said.
"Three cops began to punch the patient in the face, EMS (had) to get in the middle of it to intervene. Pt's wounds and injuries cleaned in the (ambulance)," the report said.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Scott Malone and Doina Chiacu)