NYPD officer charged with using banned chokehold

Officer David Afanador was arrested Thursday on charges of strangulation and attempted strangulation

(Photo: NYPD)

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City police officer who was suspended after putting a man in what authorities said was a banned chokehold now faces criminal charges.

The NYPD says officer David Afanador was arrested Thursday on charges of strangulation and attempted strangulation over an incident last weekend on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk.

Afanador, 39, was expected to be arraigned at a criminal court in Queens.

READ MORE: NYPD officer in ‘chokehold’ video had prior brutality case

There was no immediate comment from the officer’s union.

It was at least the second time Afanador has faced criminal charges over the alleged use of excessive force. He was acquitted in a previous case stemming from allegations he pistol-whipped a teenage suspect and broke two of his teeth.

In Sunday’s incident, a video shot by one of the men involved in the altercation showed officers tackling a man who had been taunting them, Ricky Bellevue. Afanador crooked his arm around Bellevue’s neck for several seconds as he lay face down on the boardwalk.

Body camera footage released by the department shows that the maneuver came after Bellevue and two other men hurled insults at the officers for at least 10 minutes. But Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday that Afanador was suspended because “the hand around the neck is the hand around the neck.”

READ MORE: Queens DA will not charge man after suspending officer in ‘apparent chokehold’ incident

Chokeholds have been banned by the New York Police Department for years. The issue has been particularly fraught since the death of Eric Garner after an officer put him in a chokehold in 2014.

In that case, a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved. A federal civil rights investigation also concluded without charges being filed.

The confrontation on the boardwalk came after weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Bellevue is black.