New York police officer charged after video appears to show him using chokehold on suspect

NEW YORK CITY — New York City police have arrested an officer after he was seen on video appearing to use an illegal chokehold to subdue a Black man Sunday in Queens.

The incident happened Sunday morning on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, The New York Times reported. Video released by police showed an officer using an apparent chokehold on a suspect, identified as 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, days after the City Council made such maneuvers by police illegal, according to the Times.

The officer, identified as David Afanador, was suspended without pay after the incident.

Note: The embedded video includes strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.

On Thursday, authorities charged Afanador with attempted strangulation and second-degree strangulation, WCBS-TV reported.

Body camera footage showed Bellevue and two other men hurling insults at police for about 10 minutes Sunday before an officer rushed him. As police handcuffed Bellevue, Afanador appeared to crook his arm around Bellevue’s neck for several seconds as he lay face down on the boardwalk.

An attorney representing Bellevue told the New York Daily News that the Queens district attorney would not file charges against the 35-year-old. He had faced possible disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration charges.

“I feel great,” he told the Daily News on Monday. “What (I’ve got to) say is, ‘Tell police to stop beating up Black people, white people. … Because, we here (are) one nation. (We’re) American. I am not racist. I’m here to help everybody build.”

The situation was reported as the U.S. faces a national reckoning on racism and police brutality following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Four officers were arrested and charged in connection with his death, which sparked protests nationwide over continued violence against unarmed Black men and women.

The incident marks at least the second time Afanador has faced charges stemming from alleged excessive force. The Associated Press reported he was previously acquitted in a case in which he had been accused of pistol-whipping a teenage suspect, breaking two of the teen’s teeth.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.