Video posted on social media that shows a Pennsylvania police officer with his knee on a man’s neck while trying to restrain him has prompted protests and a demand from the local Black Lives Matter group to suspend the officers involved.
The video shot Saturday night from a passer-by’s vehicle shows officers in Allentown, Pennsylvania restraining a man on the ground outside the emergency room of the Sacred Heart Campus of St Luke’s Hospital. An officer has his elbow on the man’s neck before switching to a knee to hold him down while other officers restrained his arms.
The man does not appear to be resisting 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
Allentown police said on Monday they are conducting a “use of force” investigation into the incident.
“The investigation into this incident is moving swiftly,” the department said in a statement, noting that the probe will be reviewed by the local district attorney.
The Allentown department released details about its use of force policy earlier this month, five weeks after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped responding. Floyd’s death has set off protests around the world calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
The policy prohibits neck restraints and chokeholds. It said that officers should only use the amount of force necessary to control the situation.
Just last week, the Allentown Police Department praised themselves for releasing their use of force policy.
No sooner than a week after the APD released this policy, a police officer was viewed applying the same use of force, knee to the neck, procedure that killed George Floyd
— Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley (@BLMlehighvalley) July 12, 2020
According to the police statement, officers were outside the hospital for an unrelated matter when they saw a man staggering in the street, vomiting and stopping in the driveway of the ER.
The officers and hospital staff interacted with the man, who began to yell and spit at them, police said. The statement said the man was “noncompliant which required officers to restrain” him. It is unclear from the video how long the officer had his knee on the man’s neck.
The man was treated at the hospital and released.
Police have not released the name or race of any individuals seen in the video.
Protestors are gathering at 7th and Hamilton in response to a video circulating social media that shows a police officer putting his knee on a man’s neck outside St. Luke’s Sacred Heart campus in Allentown. pic.twitter.com/O1YS9YSXT7
— Kayla Dwyer (@kayla_dwyer17) July 12, 2020
The video was posted to social media where people on the Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley Facebook page demanded answers from police. The group formed a protest late Saturday in front of the police station, and is planning another march to City Hall on Monday evening with community leaders slated as speakers.
Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell and Chief of Police Glenn Grantiz Jr showed up to the protest. Both said the police need to investigate the matter further. O’Connell called the video “disturbing”.
Police said in their statement that they plan on releasing more videos later this week.