A New York City police officer has been suspended without pay after he was captured on video executing what the police commissioner called a “disturbing apparent chokehold incident” during the arrest of a Black man who appeared to lose consciousness.
“While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday. See the full statement below.
The man who was arrested, 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, was being treated at a Queens hospital Sunday night, Queens Defenders Executive Director Lori Zeno told The New York Times. Zeno confirmed Queens Defenders is representing Bellevue, but his condition was not immediately available.
Both the New York Legislature and City Council passed legislation outlawing chokeholds after death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of the police prompted nationwide protests against police brutality.
Citing a law enforcement source, CNN reported the incident occurred around 8:45 a.m. on a beach boardwalk as police were responding to a disorderly group in the area.
The video circulating widely on social media shows several officers arresting a man, with one officer appearing to place him in a chokehold. Another officer can be seen tapping the back of the officer who had the man subdued in the apparent chokehold, which appears to persuade the first officer to release his hold, CNN reported.
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau launched an active “use of force” investigation shortly after the video began making the social media rounds.
The 100th Precinct also released more than 30 minutes of body camera footage from the incident.
Zeno identified the officer appearing to press his forearm into Bellevue’s neck as David Afandor, and the Times confirmed the shield number of the officer visible in the video matches Afandor’s name in a public database of federal lawsuits against police maintained by the Legal Aid Society.
Zeno also confirmed to the Times that Bellevue lost consciousness during the encounter and was taken into custody on suspicion of disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.