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Rep. Meeks and Council Member Donovan Richards Issue Statement on Chokehold Used by NYPD Officer in Rockaway

June 21, 2020
Press Release

Queens, NY – Today, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks released the following statement pertaining to an incident of excessive police force on the Rockaway boardwalk, captured on camera showing an officer restricting a man’s airflow:

“It is clear to us, having watched both the cellphone video posted online and the NYPD’s subsequently released body camera footage, the manner in which the man was being restrained was excessive and life threatening. The horrifying encounter captures exactly the behavior that we have marched into streets these recent weeks to reform.

“Though this man did not die during the encounter, he very well could have died as a result of the officer restricting his airflow. Law enforcement does not have the right to deny someone the ability to breathe. It is dangerous and, as we’ve too often seen, lethal use of force. That is why we have taken action on the City, State and federal level to prohibit chokeholds, and create consequences for their use.

“In speaking to Commissioner Shea, we confirmed that the department suspended the officer in question without pay, acting quickly and appropriately. We emphasized the need for further investigation to thoroughly assess what transpired, including looking at the officer’s history.”