A NYPD officer has been suspended after being accused of using a chokehold to take down a Black man who was unarmed in Queens, as depicted in video footage that surfaced Sunday on social media.
According to a police source, the arrest took place at around 8:45am on June 21 on the Rockaway Boardwalk at Beach 131st Street, and a man can be seen on video being held to the ground before being hoisted up and led to a squad car.
An NYPD source said officers passing by were flagged down because a suspect was allegedly throwing objects at people and businesses on the boardwalk.
When officers engaged with the man, law enforcement sources said, he allegedly began throwing garbage at them and was placed under arrest.
Police released bodycam footage of the incident.
The bodycam footage reveals a group of officers interacting with three people — two of whom were light skinned, the other was Black — on the boardwalk. One of the light-skinned people said he was filming the interaction on Facebook Live as the confrontation continued.
Footage shows the three people walking away from the officers, though they remained close by and eventually returned and engaged them in conversation.
The footage then appears to show the officers move to take the Black man down. While the bodycam footage is partially obscured, the man filming on Facebook Live starts yelling, “They’re choking him.”
Congressman Gregory Meeks and Councilman Donovan Richards condemned the incident in a joint statement Sunday night.
“It is clear to us, having watched both the cellphone video posted online and the NYPD’s subsequently released body camera footage, the manner in which the man was being restrained was excessive and life threatening. The horrifying encounter captures exactly the behavior that we have marched into streets these recent weeks to reform,” the lawmakers said. “Though this man did not die during the encounter, he very well could have died as a result of the officer restricting his airflow. Law enforcement does not have the right to deny someone the ability to breathe. It is dangerous and, as we’ve too often seen, lethal use of force. That is why we have taken action on the city, state and federal level to prohibit chokeholds, and create consequences for their use.”
The officer who was caught on camera applying the chokehold to the man has now been suspended from the force without pay.
The Queens DA reportedly said the man who was placed in a chokehold by the NYPD officer will not face any charges.