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New York Police Officer Suspended Without Pay Over ‘Disturbing’ Chokehold Incident In Queens

by : Julia Banim on :
New York Police Officer Suspended Without Pay Over 'Disturbing' Chokehold Incident In QueensNYPD

An officer from the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been suspended without pay following a ‘disturbing’ chokehold incident in Queens.

Footage taken by one of the men involved shows a group of police officers arresting Black man Ricky Bellevue, with one officer placing him in an apparent chokehold while he lay face down on a boardwalk on Rockaway Beach.

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In the footage, at least two separate people could be heard shouting at the officers, with one exclaiming, ‘He’s choking him! Let go!’. The officer in question could be seen relaxing his grip on Bellevue, 35, once a fellow officer tapped him on the back and pulled at his shirt.

You can find out more about this incident in the following news report:

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As per CNN, the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau has now launched an active use of force investigation after the footage was widely shared on social media.

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Lori Zeno, executive director of the Queens Defenders and Bellevue’s attorney, has now called for the officer to be fired and prosecuted.

As reported by CNN, Zeno has claimed cops had approached her client as he was ‘kicking cans’, and that multiple officers ‘pounced’ on him after he allegedly kicked a can towards one of them.

Zeno has stated that Bellevue now has a ‘big circle on the back of his head’ where his hair came out, leaving him with a bloodied scalp. He has reportedly suffered a laceration following the incident, and was taken to a local hospital.

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Prior to the chokehold incident, Bellevue had been standing beside two White men who had been filming, taunting and encircling the officers.

Bodycam footage then shows Bellevue being pinned to the ground after approaching an officer while carrying a plastic bag. He could be heard asking officers, ‘You scared? You scared?’.

The officer has claimed that Bellevue had reached for something while approaching him. One man can be seen attempting to hold Bellevue back, and it is then that an officer lunges.

Bellevue, who could be heard telling officers that he was bipolar and asthmatic, has reportedly been charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental justice, as well as resisting arrest.

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ChokeholdNYPD

In a statement made yesterday evening, June 21, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said:

Accountability in policing is essential. 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.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz stated:

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There must be zero tolerance for police misconduct. The District Attorney’s Office is aware of the incident in Far Rockaway today. We take these allegations very seriously and an active investigation is underway.

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On Thursday, June 18, the New York City Council passed legislation to make it a criminal offence for police officers to use chokeholds, which the NYPD’s patrol guide originally banned almost three decades ago.

It is now an offence for NYPD officers to use chokeholds in any situation. Officers are also prohibited from sitting, kneeling or standing on a person’s chest or back while carrying out an arrest.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, New York Police Department, Now, NYPD

Credits

Eyewitness News ABC7NY/YouTube
  1. Eyewitness News ABC7NY/YouTube

    NYPD investigating apparent use of chokehold during arrest in Queens