UPDATED 6/25, 1:00 p.m. ET: Officer David Afanador is facing strangulation and attempted strangulation charges that were put forth by the Queens district attorney, NBC New York reports. He's been suspended from the force.
If Afanador is convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
See original story below.
NYPD officer David Afanador was caught on camera Sunday administering a now illegal chokehold on a Black man as three of his colleagues unnecessarily piled on top to detain him. The video was posted by TMZ. As the man, who's been identified as 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, laid face down on the pavement, onlookers can be heard pleading for the cop with his arm wrapped around his neck to "let go." When the officer finally relinquished his chokehold, the man appeared to be unconscious.
NBC New York reports the incident took place early Sunday morning on the boardwalk that runs along Rockaway Beach in Queens. Authorities said they were responding to a call that three men were on the boardwalk allegedly harassing people, and throwing objects. The cops involved in the arrest claim that they were approached by one of the men with "a small bag," which they thought would be thrown at them.
The NYPD said in a statement that an internal review has been initiated, Afanador could face suspension. "We are aware of the video and there is an active investigation underway by the Internal Affairs Bureau," the statement reads. "This matter is taken extremely seriously and we expect to have an update this evening as the investigation unfolds."
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a 10-part police reform bill, which includes prohibiting the use of a chokehold, as well as the "Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act." This law dictates that any police officer who injures or kills someone from a "chokehold or similar restraint" can be charged with a class C felony, and face up to 15 years in prison.
The man who was arrested sustained minor injuries.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Twitter that the officer who used the chokehold has been suspended without pay.
The NYPD has released body cam footage from the incident, which escalates at the 10:00 mark. At around the 12:00 mark, the man who was arrested tells the officers that he's bipolar.