NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City police officer was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with strangulation and attempted strangulation after videos emerged over the weekend that appeared to show him using a banned chokehold to arrest a man on a city boardwalk, police said.
David Afanador, 39, had already been suspended from the New York Police Department soon after the arrest. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Afanador was arrested at a police precinct station house, the NYPD said in a statement.
The NYPD has banned its officers from using chokeholds since 1993, warning they can be deadly. Earlier this month, as part of a package of police reform bills spurred by the nationwide protests against police violence, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation making it a crime for officers to use chokeholds and similar neck restraints.
The forceful arrest on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk in Queens on Sunday was captured on police body-cam videos, which were released by the NYPD, and cellphone videos recorded by bystanders.
The videos show officers restraining the man on his stomach and one officer, Afanador, wrapping his arm around the man's neck.
The man was arrested for being "disorderly" and was hospitalized after briefly falling unconscious in the officer's grip, according to his lawyers at Queens Defenders.
The man, along with two others, could be seen cursing and insulting Afanador and his colleagues for several minutes prior to the arrest.
Scrutiny of the police has intensified across the country in the wake of the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a Black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis.
Video showed a white officer with his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, giving rise ever since to some of the largest, most sustained nationwide protests seen in the United States in decades.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell)
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