By VOA News
The New York City Police Department has suspended an officer without pay after a police video showed him apparently using a chokehold on an African American suspect that left the man unconscious.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called the video “disturbing” in a tweet posted Sunday evening after the incident and said the unidentified officer will be suspended without pay while an investigation proceeds.
But Shea also criticized the victim and his friends for harassing the officers and yelling insults at them while they patrolled the Rockaway Beach boardwalk on Sunday.
Police body cam video shows the three men on the boardwalk, sometimes hollering at the officers with the police telling them to go away and enjoy the beach.
After what Shea describes as “extreme restraint,” the officers rushed the three men, asking them if they are “scared” with one of the officers appearing to wrap his arm around one of the three by the neck.
The other officers stepped in to tell their colleague to ease off.
The alleged chokehold victim was briefly unconscious but did not appear to be seriously hurt. He was arrested for disorderly conduct.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the officer’s hostile response was unacceptable, but he thanked the others for stepping in and stopping the incident from possibly becoming something much worse.
“That represents the best of our police, not letting something like that happen,” de Blasio said.
New York City outlawed the chokehold more than 25 years ago.
Police conduct around the country has come under extra scrutiny since last month’s death of George Floyd — the African American man who died while in the custody of white Minneapolis police officers, setting off global protests — violent and peaceful — against racism and alleged police brutality against black men.