The NYPD cop who was caught on camera using a chokehold to detain a man at Rockaway Beach in Queens Sunday (June 21) morning has been suspended without pay, NBC New York reports.
According to law enforcement sources, cops responded to a call on the boardwalk that runs near Beach 113th St and Ocean Promenade around 8:45 a.m., following reports of three men who were allegedly harassing and throwing objects at people.
When officers arrived, one of the three men approached them with “a small bag” that they thought the man would throw. That’s when cops attempted to arrest the man, later identified as Ricky Bellevue. As seen in the video, one of the cops, identified as David Afanador, appears to have his arm wrapped around Bellevue’s neck while the other three officers are positioned to handcuff him.
“He’s choking him! Let go!” one bystander can be heard yelling at the officers on the video. Once Afanador releases his arm from around the man’s neck, another bystander can be heard saying, “He’s out, he’s out!”
The NYPD released Afanador’s body-camera footage on Sunday.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed the officer will remain suspended without pay while the department completes an internal investigation.
“While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary,” Shea said.
Bellevue is currently recovering at Jamaica Hospital, according to his attorney Lori Zeno.
Signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York City Council recently approved the “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act” on June 8, a bill that bans chokeholds and stipulates that an officer would be charged with a misdemeanor no matter if an injury was sustained or not.
As part of a package of police reform measures, the bill was named for Staten Island native Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after former NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo held him in the dangerous positing while Garner pleaded, “I can’t breathe.” The words have since become a rallying cry against police brutality in America.