Bronx, NY – The owner of a New York jewelry store is defending police after social media users claimed viral cell phone footage showed officers breaking into his store to loot it (video below).
A crowd of onlookers filmed the New York Police Department (NYPD) officers as they used a saw to cut through the security gate at Oscar’s Gold & Diamonds on Grand Concourse during the riots on Monday night.
“So here we are, witnessing NYPD’s finest breaking into a jewelry store for some f–king reason,” the man behind the camera said in the video as sparks flew up from the officers’ saw.
Social media users accused officers of breaking into the store to loot it.
Oscar’s Gold & Diamonds owner Oscar Stone took to Instagram on Thursday to explain that people had interpreted the situation entirely incorrectly.
“I wanna say thank you to all for sharing with me the first video of what looks like police attempting to break into my store, but I simply want you all to know that that is simply not the case,” Stone wrote.
He posted two additional videos to help explain what had occurred.
One clip showed a group of rioters as they forced open the business’s locked metal security gate.
“My store was broken into by the people you see in video 2,” Stone explained. “While most of the looters got away one looter got trapped inside the store.”
The suspect ended up trapped due to the damage the group caused to the gate.
“To apprehend the culprit the police had to saw open my gate and get him,” Stone wrote.
The suspect was taken into custody and Stone pressed charges against him.
But before a contractor was able to respond to repair the security gate, officers were forced to leave.
“The store lootings & violence got worse and the police had to leave to respond to other calls and couldn’t wait,” Stone explained.
By then, the looters had already made off with his property.
“Monday night was the craziest display of humanity that I have ever seen in my life,” Stone wrote. “To see a neighborhood that I grew up in destroyed, set on fire, and raided was incredibly demoralizing. Not to mention witnessing the store that my family and I have built from the ground up completely looted and destroyed was also devastating.”
He said it was “even more heartbreaking” to know that many of the other minority-owned businesses that were destroyed by looters will not recover enough financially to reopen.
“I truly hope the community learns from this and moving forward we can unite and defend ourselves from outsiders looking to take advantage of the times,” Stone wrote. “I most certainly will be back, and stronger than ever. Until then let’s clean up the Bronx and make sure this never happens again.”
Watch the incident unfold in the videos below: