Categories
accused officer

NYPD Officer Accused Of Using Chokehold Charged With Strangulation – NPR

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

NYPD via AP


hide caption

toggle caption

NYPD via AP

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

NYPD via AP

The New York police officer accused of using a chokehold in an incident captured on video Sunday has been charged with strangulation.

The officer, 39-year-old David Afanador, was suspended the same day the cellphone video appeared to show him choking a Black man on a Queens boardwalk. Now he’s been arrested and charged with felony strangulation and attempted strangulation. Afanador pleaded not guilty and was released Thursday afternoon without bail.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz noted that New York state had criminalized chokeholds just days earlier.

“The ink from the pen Gov. Cuomo used to sign this legislation was barely dry before this officer allegedly employed the very tactic the new law was designed to prohibit,” Katz said in a statement. “Police officers are entrusted to serve and protect — and the conduct alleged here cannot be tolerated.”

Afanador could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Sunday’s incident began when police responded to complaints about three men shouting at passersby in Rockaway, Queens. Police body-camera footage appears to show officers talking calmly for about 11 minutes while the men shout obscenities and slurs at them. Then one of the men, 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, seems to retrieve a bag and ask the police, “Are you scared?”

The video shows several officers tackling Bellevue, and Afanador appears to press his arm against Bellevue’s neck as he lies on the ground. Another policeman is seen tapping Afanador and a voice is heard saying, “He’s out.” Bellevue is later seen walking away in handcuffs with police.

Afanador was previously suspended from duty in 2014 when surveillance video appeared to show him hitting a teenager in the face with his pistol during a marijuana bust and his partner hitting the teen repeatedly once he was on the ground. Both men were later acquitted, but that incident made news at the time because it took place only weeks after the death of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold and died in police custody.

The New York state law criminalizing chokeholds, signed this month, is named for Eric Garner.

Read More

Categories
Fired officer

Officer fired in shooting death of Breonna Taylor, Louisville police say – CNN

(CNN)A police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, has been fired more than three months after Taylor’s death, according to the police department.

Det. Brett Hankison was informed in a letter signed by the the police chief that his employment with the department “is terminated,” effective immediately.
The Louisville Metro Police Department posted the letter, dated June 23, on Twitter.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, was killed when police broke down the door to her apartment in an attempted drug sting and shot her eight times. Hankison and two other officers were later put on administrative leave.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in the letter. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”
CNN reached out to Hankison and his attorney for comment but has not heard back.
Protests against police brutality that erupted after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month have, in Louisville, largely centered on Taylor’s death.
Mayor Greg Fischer said last week he had initiated termination proceedings against Hankison.
Hankison violated standard operating procedure when his “actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds” into Taylor’s apartment, Schroeder wrote in the letter.
Some of the rounds Hankison fired went into an apartment next door, “endangering the three lives in that apartment,” Schroeder wrote.
Much of Schroeder’s letter on Tuesday echoed what he had written in a letter released last Friday.
“The result of your action seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible,” he wrote. “I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination.”
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said Friday that the family was “excited to get this news and are encouraged by it.”
“This is just one step though,” Baker added. “We’re waiting for the other officers to be held accountable and for additional charges to be filed but this is a step in the right direction.”
Baker said on Friday that Breonna’s mother “enjoyed getting this bit of news.”
Both letters said Hankison was disciplined in January 2019 for reckless conduct that injured an “innocent person,” without giving details.
The officers were carrying out a search warrant in a narcotics investigation when they entered Taylor’s apartment just before 1 a.m. on March 13, according to the police department.
The no-knock warrant issued by police included Taylor’s house because, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant for the raid, which was obtained by CNN, authorities suspected a man involved in a drug ring was receiving packages of drugs at her home.
Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit two months after her killing, claiming charges of battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence.
On May 21, the FBI’s Louisville office announced it was opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.
Also in late May, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department said it would require all sworn officers to wear body cameras.
The LMPD also said it would change how the department carries out search warrants in response to Taylor’s death. Fischer said the changes were the first steps the city would take toward improving police accountability.
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was fired on June 1 after it was discovered the officers present at the shooting death of a Black man named David McAtee during a Louisville protest did not have their body cams turned on.

Read More

Categories
officer suspended

NYPD officer suspended hours after video shows “apparent chokehold” on suspect – CBS News

A New York City police officer was suspended without pay Sunday after he was recorded putting his arm around a man’s neck in what the police commissioner called an “apparent chokehold.” The department’s action to suspend the officer was stunning in its swiftness, occurring just hours after the morning confrontation on a beach boardwalk in the Rockaway section of Queens.

A video shot by one of the men involved showed a group of officers tackling a black man, with one of them putting his arm around his neck as he lay face-down on the boardwalk.

In the video, someone yells, “Stop choking him, bro!” The officer relaxes his grip after a fellow officer taps him on the back and pulls on his shirt – a collegial move that received praise from the mayor.

“The officer who intervened to stop his colleague did exactly the right thing,” Bill de Blasio tweeted Sunday night. “I commend him. That is what we need to see from all our officers.”

And the officer who intervened to stop his colleague did exactly the right thing. I commend him. That is what we need to see from all our officers.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 22, 2020

It was unclear whether the man who was tackled suffered more than superficial injuries. He stood under his own power after he got off the ground and refused to let medics examine him after the incident.

“Accountability in policing is essential. After a swift investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau, a police officer involved in a disturbing apparent chokehold incident in Queens has been suspended without pay,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement Sunday evening. “While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary.”

Police released body camera video showing that for at least 11 minutes before the arrest, three men were pacing back and forth, sometimes shouting at the officers and hurling racial insults at them, while the officers implored them to walk away and go enjoy the beach.

Then at one point, the officers rushed one of the men who was acting most aggressively, and who had been taunting them by saying, “You scared?” The ensuing struggle lasted about 30 seconds.

In the aftermath, one officer’s body camera video captured him explaining the situation to a woman who turned up at the scene and said she was a relative of the man who had been handcuffed, and that he was mentally ill.

“They were all talking all types of crazy stuff to us and we did nothing,” he said. “What changed everything is when he grabbed something and squared up and was going to hit my officer.”

CBS New York reports the man has been identified by his attorney, Lori Zeno, as Ricky Bellevue. Zeno said it is clear the officer was performing a chokehold.

“He’s an idiot. That’s my reaction. He’s an idiot. And he’s a bad cop and he needs to go. He needs to get fired. And not only fired, he needs to get prosecuted,” Zeno said.

Bellevue’s attorney said he was taken to St. John’s Hospital, where he was treated for a laceration on his head and released. She also said he is facing two misdemeanors, for resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental justice, and a violation for disorderly conduct. 

The NYPD has long banned chokeholds. Their use has been especially fraught since the 2014 death of Eric Garner after an officer put him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a sweeping package of police accountability measures including a ban on chokeholds following protests over George Floyd’s killing.

De Blasio said in his tweet that the police department’s discipline was the fastest he’s ever seen.

“This is how it needs to be,” he said.

Today was the fastest I have EVER seen the NYPD act to discipline an officer. Within hours:

Immediate suspension

Body camera footage released

Discipline process initiated

This is how it needs to be. https://t.co/Ma7f6nd7HL

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 22, 2020

Read More

Categories
allegedly officer

An officer allegedly showed off explicit photos of a woman later killed by her boyfriend – The Washington Post

Lauren McCluskey gave an officer explicit photos of herself in the hope that campus police would help protect her from the man who was blackmailing her — the man who killed her a little more than a week later in a tragedy that rocked the University of Utah.

In the days leading to the 21-year-old student-athlete’s death in October 2018 — the tail end of a flawed response, according to a review — the officer she entrusted with her pictures allegedly showed them to his male colleague, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday. James McConkie, an attorney for McCluskey’s parents, echoed the allegation in a statement Monday.

The officer, Miguel Deras, bragged about being able to look at the photos he had downloaded to his personal cellphone, McConkie alleged. A top Utah public safety official told the Tribune that Deras’s alleged handling of the images could be a policy violation and lead to actions against his certification, or criminal prosecution.

“The person who was supposed to provide police services to Lauren instead exploited her,” McCluskey’s mother, Jill McCluskey, said in a statement. “I wish he had used his time to arrest Lauren’s killer rather than ogling at her image.”

The killing sparked an independent review of the university’s response after Lauren McCluskey told campus police that she was scared of her ex-boyfriend, whom she had broken up with after she discovered that he was a registered sex offender who had lied to her about his name, age and criminal record. McCluskey’s parents last year filed a $56 million lawsuit, which is set for mediation Tuesday and Wednesday.

Deras, who resigned from the university’s police force amid an uproar over the McCluskey case and moved to the Logan City Police Department, could not be reached for comment about the allegations against him.

University spokesman Chris Nelson said in a statement that the school’s police department completed an internal investigation of the allegations in February and “found no evidence that a former officer had ‘bragged’ or shared any image from the investigation that wasn’t considered a legitimate law enforcement reason.”

No officers reported such behavior at the time it allegedly happened, Nelson said. He added that the police department had since revised its process for storing evidence.

Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said in a statement that he was unaware of the allegations against Deras until they appeared in the Tribune. Jensen wrote that the allegations are “difficult to read” and “very serious in nature,” but he urged the public to remember that they are accusations.

“Please be patient while we consult with the University of Utah Police Department, who has reportedly already done an in-depth internal investigation, on this very claim, including interviews of co-workers, employees and a forensic download of this officer’s phone,” he wrote. “Reportedly, throughout their investigation, there was no evidence to substantiate any part of the claim.”

Jensen said that if his department finds evidence substantiating the allegations against Deras, “we will take appropriate action.”

McConkie, the McCluskeys’ attorney, said at a news conference Monday that Deras should not be a Utah police officer.

“The officer could have committed a crime, showing without consent a private picture,” McConkie said. “That’s a possibility, and it’s a serious matter.”

State Rep. Andrew Stoddard (D) announced that in response to McCluskey’s case, he has offered a bill that would ban police from loading private images onto their personal phones. The bill would also prohibit sharing the photos with anyone not involved in the investigation.

At the time of her death, Lauren McCluskey, of Pullman, Wash., was a communications major and a track athlete. She was scheduled to graduate the next spring.

McCluskey started dating Melvin Rowland in September 2018, according to the independent review of campus police’s actions that was commissioned by the university. After she broke up with Rowland the next month, his friend sent her text messages urging her to kill herself.

Over the next few days, the review says, McCluskey received texts telling her that Rowland had been in an accident and was in the hospital. She then got a message that Rowland was dead, and she called campus police to report that her ex-boyfriend’s friends were trying to lure her into a trap. Police told her to call them back if the messages became threatening.

McCluskey reported the next day that Rowland was demanding $1,000 and threatening that personal photos of her would end up online if she didn’t comply. She paid the money, according to the review.

The morning of Oct. 22, 2018, McCluskey got a fake text message purportedly from the deputy police chief asking her to come to the station. She reported it to police and did not answer the text.

About 8:20 p.m., university police got a report of a possible abduction in a residence hall’s parking lot. Students told police they heard an argument and then gunshots.

Police found McCluskey’s body around 1:30 a.m. in a parked car near Medical Plaza, a residential hall, and put the campus on lockdown while they searched for Rowland, who was a suspect. Rowland, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a Salt Lake City church.

The review found that Rowland manipulated McCluskey to make money and that he created the impression that both he and McCluskey were being extorted, while he was actually the culprit.

“When Lauren refused to go along with his manipulation and reported his actions to the police, he stalked and killed her,” according to the review.

The review flagged several issues with the university’s handling of McCluskey’s case, including that no officers checked Rowland’s offender status, their contact with McCluskey was not face-to-face and they were not sufficiently trained in responding to interpersonal violence.

Read More

Categories
officer Police

Police officer told homeowner he could contact Ahmaud Arbery shooting suspect for help with potential trespassers, text message shows – CNN

(CNN)A text message obtained by CNN shows a Glynn County police officer told the owner of a home under construction near the Georgia coast that he could contact Gregory McMichael for help with potential trespassers seen in surveillance video from his property.

Months later, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, would be arrested for the February 23 fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, who was jogging through the neighborhood and, according to attorneys for Arbery’s family, seen in surveillance footage from the property that day.
Elizabeth Graddy, an attorney for the homeowner, Larry English, said the text exchange occurred on December 20, 2019. In it, English sends a video clip from his surveillance camera to the police officer. The officer responded, telling English that one of English’s neighbors is Gregory McMichael, a retired police officer and retired investigator in the local district attorney’s office.
McMichael “said please call him day or night when you get action on your camera,” the officer wrote in his text message to English.
CNN has reached out to the Glynn County Police Department for comment but has not heard back.
McMichael and his son, the alleged shooter, were arrested May 7 and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the death of Arbery.
Attorneys for the elder McMichael said in a statement Friday that their client “did not commit murder,” pointing out that he’s been charged as party to the crime. The attorneys, Frank and Laura Hogue, said they are aware of “several other critically important facts” that portray “a very different narrative” for the killing.
Travis McMichael’s attorneys made similar comments on Thursday, saying he had “been vilified before his voice could even be heard.”
“The truth in this case will exonerate Travis,” the statement said.
Arbery was running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood outside Brunswick on February 23 when he was followed by the McMichaels and fatally shot, according to a Glynn County police report.
Gregory McMichael told police after the shooting that he and his son pursued Arbery because they thought he looked like a suspect in a series of recent break-ins, the report says. A struggle ensued between Arbery and Travis McMichael, who was armed with a shotgun, according to the report and a video that appears to show the incident. Arbery was shot three times, including twice in the chest, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy report.
No string of break-ins was reported in more than seven weeks before Arbery’s death and there was only a burglary report after a gun was stolen from an unlocked vehicle in front of the McMichaels’ home, police said.
The two men were arrested two days after the 36-second video was published, sparking widespread outrage that the suspects, who are white, had not been arrested more than two months after Arbery, an African American, was killed.

Video clips show other people on the property

Surveillance video from English’s construction site on February 23 appears to show Arbery minutes before he was killed. The footage appears to show him looking around but never touching anything and eventually, walking away.
Earlier this week, English said he never accused Arbery of any wrongdoing.
“I don’t want it to be put out and misused and misinterpreted for people to think that I had accused Mr. Arbery of stealing or robbery, because I never did,” English told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Tuesday night.
By the time English had seen the clip, Arbery was already dead, according to Graddy, the attorney for English.
Multiple security video clips obtained by CNN show unidentified people on other occasions entering English’s home, which was under construction.
In a video from February 11, another person is seen in the home. A 911 caller who identified himself as Travis McMichael that day said he saw a man go into the house, according to a Glynn County police report.
English told CNN he could not identify the individual in the February 11 footage and said he did not report the incident to the police.
In a statement to CNN on Friday, Graddy said the man in the February 11 video appears to be the same man filmed in the house last fall and on December 17. She said the man may have come into the house for water, adding there are water sources both behind the house and in front of it. In the December 17 footage, the man is seen wiping his mouth and “what sounds like water can be heard” before he jogs away, Graddy said in a statement.
Attorneys for Arbery’s parents said they have reviewed a number of surveillance videos released by English’s attorney. They confirmed Ahmaud Arbery appeared in one video but were unable to confirm that he appeared in the others.
The statement from the attorneys said people were frequently on the construction site both day and night but “Ahmaud Arbery seems to be the only one who was presumed to be a criminal.”

Read More

Categories
killed officer

1 officer killed in Louisiana shooting; 2nd officer hospitalized – CBS News

A shooting in Louisiana’s capital city left one police officer dead and his wounded colleague fighting for his life Sunday, authorities said, adding a suspect was later taken into custody after an hourslong standoff in which shots were exchanged with a SWAT team.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul told The Advocate the two officers were shot in a northern residential district in the city, and that one of the officers later succumbed.

Paul said a suspect, Ronnie Kato, 36, was detained after a roughly four-hour standoff in which he barricaded inside a house. The chief didn’t immediately say what charges Kato might face. He added that SWAT team members had been fired on and they returned fire. No one was reported hurt during those exchanges.

Police said the officers who were shot had responded earlier in the day to reports of gunfire in the area.

At a news conference Sunday evening, the police chief said the slain officer was a 21-year law enforcement veteran, according to CBS affiliate WAFB-TV. The chief did not immediately identify the officers.

The second officer was “fighting for his life,” Paul added at a news briefing Sunday evening. He is a seven-year member of the force.

“Our officers — talk about being public servants and the responsibility that comes along with being a law enforcement officer,” Paul said. “This is a call no chief wants to get.”

NEW VIDEO: Multiple shots were fired around 4 p.m. at the standoff scene off Winbourne Avenue where two officers were shot earlier today.

It was unclear who fired the shots. https://t.co/sJcd1Hjk4o pic.twitter.com/sgcTGYPM2B

— WAFB (@WAFB) April 26, 2020

Police released few details about the shooting of the two officers or events that led up to it. The chief said only that police continue to investigate.

On Sunday afternoon, neighbors and onlookers crowded street corners behind police tape that cordoned off the area, according to media reports. Some of the bystanders wore masks against the coronavirus and others held up phones to record the crush of law enforcement vehicles at the site.

A different scene unfolded outside Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, where the officers had been whisked by ambulance. There, dozens of law enforcement officers held an impromptu vigil at the hospital, awaiting updates on the wounded officer’s condition.

A coroner’s van was seen Sunday afternoon being escorted away by dozens of law enforcement vehicles as it left the hospital, according to media reports.

PRAYERS FOR OUR OFFICERS: His comrades stood watch as the fallen BRPD officer left Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center. Thank you for your service. https://t.co/2EsDNvSj3e https://t.co/5pfeSkhc7L

— WAFB (@WAFB) April 27, 2020

Read More