Police launched an investigation after a Saturday video appeared to show an officer in Allentown, Pennsylvania, restraining a man by kneeling on his neck, a tactic that looked similar to the one that resulted in the death of George Floyd in May, CBS 3 reported.
Officers were at the Emergency Room Department outside Saint Luke’s Hospital for an unrelated matter when they saw a man vomiting and staggering in the street. After officers and hospital staff approached him, the man started spitting and screaming at them, eventually leading to everyone falling over, the Allentown Police said in a statement. (RELATED: Protests Persist One Month After George Floyd’s Death)
— Joshua Crompton (@PhillyNewsGuy) July 13, 2020
“The individual continued to be noncompliant,” the Allentown Police said in their statement, “which required officers to restrain the individual and the hospital applied a spit shield.”
An officer appeared to kneel on the man’s neck and head area to restrain him during the video.
GRAPHIC VIDEO: @AllentownPolice held down this man’s face to the pavement and then one of its officers placed their knee on his neck!! This happened yesterday and is exactly what led to #GeorgeFloyd’s death. We need this officer’s name and badge # NOW. #ICantBreathe pic.twitter.com/3qSlKGSgF4
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) July 12, 2020
The man was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and later released, police said.
The Allentown Police Department said in the statement that an internal investigation is underway into the use of force in this incident, and an investigation will be reviewed by the Lehigh County District Attorney who is expected to release a statement later this week.
“The investigation into this incident is moving swiftly. Part of the investigation has included a review of a 23 second video posted to social media,” the statement said. “Although significant, the entirety of the interaction is being reviewed. Witnesses are being interviewed and additional videos of the interaction are being reviewed. We plan on releasing relevant videos later this week as we complete this inquiry.”
The Allentown Police Department’s policy on force states that “use of neck restraints or similar weaponless control techniques (choke holds) is prohibited,” with the exception of “preventing imminent death or serious bodily injury to a member or citizen.”
Protests erupted in Allentown after the video was posted Saturday night, CBS 3 reported.
Justan Parker, leader of Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley, said “we’re done,” according to CBS 3.
“People think that it couldn’t happen here and it has been happening and it happened yesterday,” Parker said according to the report. “So enough is enough. My takeaway from the video is that Black and Brown lives don’t matter to APD or to the city.”
Allentown’s Mayor Ray O’Connell and Police Chief Glenn Grannitz reportedly attended the protests that took place Saturday night, which were peaceful.
Black Lives Matter has organized protests for the rest of this week, according to the report.
The Allentown Police Department declined to comment.