You are reading

Queens Grand Jury Declines To Indict NYPD Officer Charged For Using Chokehold

Screenshot of Body Cam Footage (Youtube/NYPD)

Sept. 16, 2021 By Christian Murray

A Queens grand jury cleared a former NYPD officer Tuesday who faced charges under New York’s anti-chokehold law stemming from an incident on Rockaway Beach last year.

The grand jury considering charges against former Police Officer David Afanador “found no true bill and declined to indict,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Sept. 14.

Afanador, who left the NYPD earlier this year following separate legal issues, was charged with aggravated strangulation by Katz after being filmed putting a man in an apparent chokehold on the Rockaway boardwalk at around 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 21, 2020.

The footage shows him wrapping his arm around the neck of Ricky Bellevue, a 35-year-old Black man, who appears to lose consciousness.

The incident took place at around the same time that Black Lives Matter protests were erupting across the nation — including in New York City — in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis cop.

Afanador was suspended by the NYPD as a result of the incident. Katz prosecuted him based on a state law prohibiting police chokeholds that went into effect a week prior to the incident. The law made such chokeholds a felony, punishable by up to 7 years in prison.

The incident stemmed from an argument three men got into with several police officers on the boardwalk.

The men proceeded to taunt and heckle the cops and then started to record the reaction of the officers. Bellevue, one of the three men, then asked the officers if they were scared and appeared to grab a can from a trash receptacle.

That’s when four officers tackled Bellevue, including Afanador, who allegedly wrapped his arm around Bellevue’s neck and pinned him to the ground.

Afanador, based on video footage, continued the alleged chokehold as other officers handcuffed Bellevue. The video recording then shows Bellevue’s body go limp and him losing consciousness.

Katz, in making the announcement Tuesday, said she would work to make the minutes of the proceedings public in the interest of transparency.

“While the law prohibits me from discussing the proceedings that took place in front of the grand jury, in the interest of transparency I am moving to have the minutes of the grand jury unsealed,” Katz said.

Afanador has been subject to other complaints where he has been accused of police brutality.

He allegedly pistol-whipped a Black 16-year-old in 2014, breaking two of his teeth during a marijuana arrest. He was suspended for one month but was acquitted, according to records with the NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Earlier this year, according to Gothamist, Afanador was arrested for allegedly firing his pistol into the Atlantic Ocean. He was suspended without pay, and resigned from the NYPD in March.

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Five Queens startups win $20,000 each in 2024 Tech + Innovation Challenge

May. 19, 2024 By Czarinna Andres

A diverse range of businesses, including a yoga studio, an olive oil distributor, a female health care provider, a sustainable mushroom farmer, and an AI-powered physical therapy service, have been named winners of the 2024 Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC). Each winner will receive a $20,000 grant to support their business operations.

City hosting walking tours at the new Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways on Sunday

This Sunday, May 19, the city is conducting walking tours of the newly opened Arverne East Nature Preserve in the Rockaways to showcase the 35-acre beachfront jewel developed on a formerly vacant illegal dumping ground on Beach 44th Street in Edgemere.

The tours, hosted by the Department of City Planning (DCP), NYC Parks, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow participants to explore the preserve’s diverse ecosystem. The large preserve is a component of the upcoming Arverne East housing development, which, when completed, will be one of the most environmentally conscious developments in the United States, achieving net zero and eliminating the need for fossil fuels on-site.

QBP Richards, advocates rally to demand Mayor Adams restore funding to City’s libraries

May. 17, 2024 By Gabriele Holtermann

A rally was held at the Queens Public Library at Forest Hills on May 16, during which Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott, union reps and library advocates called on Mayor Eric Adams to reverse the proposed $58.3 million budget cuts to the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and the Queens Public Library (QBL) for Fiscal Year 2025, which begins on July 1, 2024.

Queens elected officials secure $70 million from New York State Budget for school safety equipment in religious and independent schools

May. 17, 2024 By Anthony Medina

Religious and independent schools throughout the city will soon receive additional funding for school safety equipment, thanks to Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and State Senator Michael Gianaris, who, after extensive advocacy efforts, successfully secured $70 million from the New York State Budget for 2024-25 for Non-Public School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants.