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Thursday, July 2, 2020

NYPD officer suspended over ‘disturbing’ video of ‘chokehold’ incident

A New York City police officer has been suspended after footage appeared to show him putting his arm around a man’s neck in an apparent chokehold. The department suspended the officer without pay hours after the morning confrontation on a beach boardwalk in the Rockaway section of Queens on Sunday.
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A New York City police officer has been suspended after footage appeared to show him putting his arm around a man’s neck in an apparent chokehold.

The department suspended the officer without pay hours after the morning confrontation on a beach boardwalk in the Rockaway section of Queens on Sunday.

A video shot by one of the men involved showed a group of officers tackling a black man, with one of them appearing to put his arm around his neck as he lay face down on the boardwalk.

In the video, someone yells: “Stop choking him, bro, let him go.” The officer relaxes his grip after a fellow officer taps him and pulls on his shirt.

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.”

Officers had been responding to reports that three men were harassing people and throwing objects at them, NBC News reports, and attempted to make an arrest after one the men approached the officers with a “small bag” which they thought he would throw.

It was understood the man who was arrested suffered minor injuries.

Sharing the footage on Twitter, NYPD said: “Here is the body worn camera associated with this incident.

“This matter is taken extremely seriously and updates will be shared with the public as the investigation unfolds.”

Commending the swift action taken by the police commissioner, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter: “Today was the fastest I have EVER seen the NYPD act to discipline an officer…this is how it needs to be.”

He added: “The officer who intervened to stop his colleague did exactly the right thing. I commend him. That is what we need to see from all our officers.”

The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993 and their use has been especially fraught since the death of Eric Garner in 2014 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 George Floyd’s killing.

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