The New York Police Department has suspended a police officer for slamming a black man to the ground on Sunday and putting him in a chokehold – eight days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned the use of chokeholds among police officers following the killing of black American George Floyd by a White police man, Derek Chauvin.
In the video, four officers are positioned above 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue to restrain and handcuff him. One of the officers appears to wrap his arm completely around the man’s neck. At least two different people can be heard yelling at the officers to get off of the man. “He’s choking him! Let go!” one of them shouts.
The incident unfolded Sunday morning around 8:45 a.m. on the boardwalk that runs along Rockaway Beach in Queens, law enforcement sources confirmed. They say officers responded to the boardwalk after three men were allegedly harassing people and throwing objects at them.
When officers engaged the trio, police sources say Bellevue approached them with “a small bag” that officers thought he would throw, then then tells a cop: ‘You scared, you scared?’ . That’s when officers attempted to make the arrest.
An officer lunges forward and grabs him, taking him down. A scuffle then ensues and scene photos show Bellevue being held in a chokehold.
A bystander watching Bellevue being face stamped to the ground by four police officers, yelled: ‘Yo, he’s choking ’em, let ’em go!’
One of the cops at the scene, identifiable by his shield number as David Afanador, tells the man recording with his phone, “Back off.”
The man recording responds, “Yeah, f— you, f—you, Alfredo.”
The man was led away from the scene by officers moments later, an NYPD spokesman said.
Later, with the bodycam still recording, Afanador tried to explain what he did to a woman on the scene.
“They were all talking all types of crazy stuff to us. We did nothing. I don’t care. Anybody can say whatever they want to us,” he told the woman. “What changed everything is when he grabbed something and squared off, and was gonna hit my officer who’s standing over there.”
He continued, “That’s when everything changed. The minute I saw him flex on him, that’s when he goes down, cause we don’t get hurt and we’re not gonna leave somebody violent out here who might do that to one of you or another innocent person.”
When the ambulance arrived to take Bellevue, he is overheard telling the officers he is bipolar and asthmatic.
‘This is what you do to a black man on Father’s Day?’ he says after he is led to an ambulance.
‘This is what you do in America? I’m born in America.
‘You’re not here to help us. You’re here to kill us. I always get beat up by the police.’
Standing by an EMT vehicle, he complains about his neck.
‘Sir, there is no pressure on your neck,’ one officer is overheard saying.
Bellevue keeps on repeating that he is asthmatic.
A person says: ‘Sir, I am EMS, do you mind if I take a look at your lungs?’
He replies: ‘Get the f*** away from me. You put me on my head. You smacked me, n*****.’
‘I’m going to sue y’all,’ he says. ‘I want all your badges.
Bellevue’s twin brother, Ashley, became visibly distraught as he viewed the videos.
“Those cops could have really hurt my brother. He couldn’t breathe. They could’ve killed him,” he said. “In the video I don’t see that he did anything? The cops just jumped into action. He wasn’t a threat, he didn’t have a weapon. What are they (cops) practicing, what are they being taught? They could’ve treated him a little more fairly.”
Dermot Shea, commissioner of NYPD, reacting to the incident, said the officer involved has been suspended.
‘Accountability in policing is essential,’ he said. ‘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.’
Bellevue had minor injuries as a result of the incident.
Watch the video below..
This is NYPD officer David Afanador (Badge #31730) using an illegal chokehold on a black man today while making an arrest in Far Rockaway.
The cops only stopped once they realized they were being filmed.
Thank gawd for cell phones w/video cameras.pic.twitter.com/exKgzbCPbj
— Minh Ngo (@minhtngo) June 21, 2020
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.https://t.co/21Mz3YPQKZ
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 21, 2020