By: IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A New York police officer who was previously charged with misconduct was suspended without pay and is under investigation for an incident where he was filmed using a chokehold on a suspect over the weekend, the NYPD said.
A pedestrian posted video online of the encounter in Rockaway Beach Queens Sunday where a number of officers are seen on top of a Black man with one officer putting his arm around the man’s neck. The officer who held the suspect’s neck was identified as David Afanador, according to police sources.
One pedestrian who was watching the arrest is heard shouting at the cops, “Stop chocking him bro,” before the officer took his arm off the man’s neck, according to the video.
The unnamed suspect, who police say was causing a disturbance on the beach and threw something from a trash bin at the officers, appeared to be unconscious in the video. He later woke up and suffered bruises, his attorney told WABC-TV.
Hours after the video was posted on social media, the NYPD announced Afanador’s suspension and an internal affairs investigation. They also released body camera footage of the entire incident.
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that banned chokeholds throughout the state.
A spokeswoman for the Queens District Attorney’s Office told ABC News it will not be prosecuting the suspect in the video and will investigate the incident.
“There must be zero tolerance for police misconduct,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
Afanador was suspended from the force in 2014 while he was under criminal investigation for allegedly pistol-whipping a teenage suspect during an arrest. He returned to the force two years later after a judge acquitted him and his partner for the charges.
Shea told NY1 Monday that investigators are still gathering all of the details about the incident, but based on what they saw, immediate action was needed.
“Ultimately the hand around the neck is the hand around the neck,” he told NY1.
The Police Benevolent Association declined to comment about Afanador’s suspension and investigation.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commended the commissioner and internal affairs for acting swiftly and being transparent with the public.
“The public needs to see that when something is done wrong, there are consequences and they are swift, and that’s what happened here,” he said during a Monday news conference.
ABC News’ Christina Carrega and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.
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