A video of an Allentown, Pennsylvania cop placing his knee on a man’s neck has sparked outrage.
According to CBS News, the clip was recorded Saturday night by someone riding past in a vehicle. The graphic footage shows officers restraining a man on the ground outside the emergency room of the Sacred Heart Campus of St. Luke’s Hospital. One cop uses his elbow on the man’s neck to restrain him before switching to his knee. You can watch the graphic footage below.
A statement was released by the Allentown Police saying the incident is being investigated and additional videos are under review. According to the statement, cops were outside the hospital for an unrelated situation when they saw a guy staggering in the street, vomiting and stopping in the driveway of the ER. Police say the hospital staff and officers interacted with the man, who started to yell and spit at them. The man was “noncompliant which required officers to restrain.”
It’s not clear from the video how long the cop had his knee on the guy’s neck. The man was eventually treated at the hospital and then released. The police department has yet to releases the name or race of the people involved in the video.
The footage eventually made its way to social media where group’s like Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley demanded answers from the police. By late Saturday, the collective organized a protest in front of the police station.
“We’re done,” Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley leader Justan Parker said to CBS Philly. “People think that it couldn’t happen here and it has been happening and it happened yesterday. So enough is enough.”
Many people outraged by the video pointed out its resemblance to the Minneapolis officer who put his knee on George Floyd‘s neck while he yelled “I can’t breathe.” Floyd’s death ignited protests across the world over police brutality and systematic racism.
Ben Crump, the lawyer representing Floyd’s family, tweeted, “@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.”
The Allentown Police Department released its use of force policy earlier this month. It prohibits neck restraints and chokeholds and says officers should only use the amount of force necessary to control the incident.
During the Saturday protest, Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell and police Chief Glenn Grantiz Jr. made an appearance and said the police need to investigate the issue further. O’Connell described the video as “disturbing.” The police department said more video should be released later this week.