‘Stop choking him’: Police officer suspended over ‘chokehold’ on black man

A New York police officer has been suspended over the use of a “disturbing apparent chokehold” on a black man.

Video footage purportedly showed the officer using the banned technique as the man was restrained on a boardwalk at Rockaway Beach in Queens on Sunday.

The NYPD released its own body-camera footage of the incident and said an “active use of force investigation” was under way.

A police officer involved in apparent chokehold incident has been suspended. Pic: NYPD
Image:The NYPD released body-camera footage of the incident. Pic: NYPD

The incident follows widespread protests in the US and around the world in recent weeks sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody.

The New York officer was one of four involved in detaining the man, who can be seen lying face down on the ground during the incident.

A video shot by someone at the scene showed the officer putting his arm around the man’s neck as a person yells: “Stop choking him, bro… let him go.”

As the man lies still on the ground, another person can be heard saying: “He’s out… look, look.”

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A police officer involved in apparent chokehold incident has been suspended. Pic: NYPD
Image:The detained man is seen lying face down on the ground. Pic: NYPD

The officer relaxes his grip after a fellow officer taps him and pulls on his shirt.

The incident happened at around 8.45am local time on Sunday after officers responded to reports that three men were harassing people and throwing objects at them, sources told NBC News.

A police officer involved in apparent chokehold incident has been suspended. Pic: NYPD
Image:The officer gets up after a colleague taps him and pulls on his shirt. Pic: NYPD

Officers attempted to make an arrest after one of the men approached the officers with “a small bag” which they thought he would throw, the sources said.

The NYPD said the arrested man suffered minor injuries, NBC News reported.

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Dermot Shea, police commissioner of New York City, tweeted: “After a swift investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau, a police officer involved in a disturbing apparent chokehold incident in Queens has been suspended without pay.

“While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary.

“We are committed to transparency as this process continues.”

An NYPD spokesman said: “We are aware of the video and there is an active use of force investigation under way by the Internal Affairs Bureau.

“This matter is taken extremely seriously and we expect to have an update this evening as the investigation unfolds.”

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The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993 and their use has been especially fraught since the 2014 death of Eric Garner after an officer put him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a package of police accountability measures including a ban on chokeholds following protests over Mr Floyd’s killing.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week restricting the use of police chokeholds, saying they will be banned “except if an officer’s life is at risk”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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