The New York City Police Department arrested and charged an officer who was filmed using a maneuver the department deemed to be an illegal chokehold.
David Afanador, the 39-year-old officer who was caught using the maneuver in a viral video earlier this month, is the first officer to be charged under new legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June barring chokeholds. Afanador was charged with second-degree strangulation and first-degree attempted strangulation after he was filmed with his arm around the neck of Ricky Bellevue, a 35-year-old black man.
Police had been called to the scene early Sunday morning after receiving a report that Bellevue was shouting and screaming outside. Several officers held Bellevue down during the arrest. One officer appeared to urge Afanador to let go of Bellevue after the man appeared to be unconscious.
Here’s the viral video, that led to arrest of Officer David Afanador: pic.twitter.com/aOGQQzFQfP
— Pervaiz Shallwani (@Pervaizistan) June 25, 2020
Lori Zeno, who is representing Bellevue, said that the man required hospitalization after the incident.
“He was on such a hard chokehold that he couldn’t speak to say he couldn’t breathe,” Zeno said.
Afanador was placed on a suspension “without pay” by the department while it investigated his actions. Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the apparent chokehold but praised the officer who stepped in and urged Afanador to let go.
“I want to praise the other officer in the incident, who clearly on the video intervenes to stop his partner from using that chokehold,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “This is such an important thing to see police officers step up, say, ‘Wait a minute that’s not right, stop doing that.’”
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