8 THE QUEENS COURIER • JUNE 25, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Queens leaders want cop cuff ed for allegedly
choking man during Rockaway Boardwalk arrest
BY JACOB KAYE
Community leaders gathered in front of
Queens Borough Hall Monday aft ernoon
to call for the arrest of NYPD Offi cer
David Afanador, who was recorded in a
now-viral video wrapping his arm around
the neck of an unarmed Black man during
an arrest on the Rockaway Boardwalk on
Led by Reverend Kevin McCall, the
demonstrators called on District Attorney
Melinda Katz to prosecute Afanador —
who has been suspended without pay —
for his alleged use of the newly illegal
Speakers included Sanford Rubenstein,
a civil rights attorney; Chris Banks, a
community activist; Terrence Floyd, the
brother of the late George Floyd; and
McCall, who gave Katz until Friday to
New York state recently banned police
offi cers from using the chokehold while
making an arrest. Th e tactic has led the
death of people in police custody, including
Eric Garner in 2014.
Afanador, who has been suspended
from the force without pay, appeared
to use the maneuver on Ricky Bellevue
during the Sunday morning arrest.
“We have faith in this district attorney’s
offi ce,” McCall said. “We’re calling for her
to do the right thing and move swift ly and
arrest offi cer David immediately.”
Under the new police reforms signed
into law earlier this month, the use of the
chokehold is considered a felony.
“So why are we here?” McCall said from
the steps of Borough Hall.
Less than 12 hours aft er Bellevue’s
arrest, the NYPD released body cam footage
from one of the offi cers involved in
the incident. While the initial investigation
into the arrest led to Afanador’s suspension,
the full investigation is ongoing.
“Accountability in policing is essential.
Aft er a swift investigation by the Internal
Aff airs Bureau, a police offi cer involved in
a disturbing apparent chokehold incident
in Queens has been suspended without
pay,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea
said on Sunday. “While a full investigation
is still underway, there is no question
in my mind that this immediate action is
necessary. We are committed to transparency
as this process continues.”
who have fought
for police reforms and a reduction
of the NYPD’s $6 billion budget,
were swift to condemn Afanador’s
actions following the viral video.
“I’m disturbed to see another
NYPD offi cer use an illegal chokehold
to hold someone down,” said
Congresswoman Grace Meng. “It
was right to suspend the offi cer
and open an investigation but
this must be done in a transparent
way and include the offi -
cer’s history. Excessive force is
unacceptable and must be condemned.
Aft er many weeks of
cries for justice, we must continue
to address the systemic
issues that aff ect equality and
justice. I believe federal action
is necessary which is why I
strongly support the Justice in
Screenshot via NYPD
Policing Act and
C ong r e s sman
Jeffries’ bill —
both bills that
would ban chokeholds.”
In a joint statement,
Meeks and Councilman Donovan
Richards called the arrest “excessive and
“The horrifying encounter
captures exactly the behavior
that we have marched into
streets these recent weeks to
reform,” the lawmakers said.
“Th ough this man did not die during the
encounter, he very well could have died
as a result of the offi cer restricting his
airfl ow. Law enforcement does not have
the right to deny someone the ability to
breathe. It is dangerous and, as we’ve too
oft en seen, lethal use of force.”
For nearly a month, demonstrators
around the world and in Queens have
marched for justice for Floyd, Breonna
Taylor and countless other Black people
who have died or suff ered violence
at the hand of the police.
Additional reporting by Dean Moses.
Photo by Dean Moses
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