NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea says he took swift action this weekend against an officer who put a man in an apparent chokehold.
He spoke out during public testimony on Monday, while defending the vast majority of the Department’s work during ongoing police protests, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
NYPD body camera video shows officers on the boardwalk in the Rockaways on Sunday. Police said they were called there initially by a passerby who reported a man acting erratically.
In the end, police said the man resisted arrest and an officer put him in an apparent chokehold.
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Chokeholds are not only banned by the Department, the City Council just voted to criminalize the use of them by police.
The man in the video was treated at a hospital for a cut on his head.
It’s the latest in what state Attorney General Letitia James calls disturbing actions by police.
“Why do they keep happening?” she asked.
“You had four officers roughly engaging with three gentlemen on the boardwalk for probably 10-20 minutes exercising extreme restraint. I think people should be condemning the acts — my opinion — of the individuals, the language they used,” Shea said.
“But at the end of that story, an officer put his hands around a person’s neck,” he added.
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Shea said he swiftly suspended that officer without pay. He spoke about the incident during virtual testimony to the attorney general.
Shea said less than 10 officers have been disciplined so far for their actions covering the protests. He testified they are the isolated exceptions in a department where some 400 officers have been physically attacked since the protests began.
“These were extremely violent, almost from the start, and the violence was directed towards the law enforcement personnel that were present,” Shea said.
While the commissioner stood up for the vast majority of his officers, James grilled him about their tactics.
Shea admitted the police do have to regain some trust that has been lost, but noted those who back them are doing so privately.
“No one will come out and support the police right now because they are scared because they’ll get shouted down, and I think that is really sad,” Shea said.
James countered it’s not an issue of trust, but of bad cops who engage in misconduct.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said she is not prosecuting the man in the apparent chokehold video.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the NYPD will increase car and foot patrols this summer in an attempt to reduce shootings, which increased over 300% last week compared to the year before.
“The job one is always to keep people safe and we can do that while creating reform and creating a better NYPD and a fairer NYPD,” the mayor said.
De Blasio danced around how these added patrols will play into the City Council seeking a $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget, which protesters want to see reinvested in community and youth services.
“We need to help our people so they don’t get in situations where they’re suffering and desperate,” protester Power Malu during the 26th consecutive day of demonstrations in the city.