A man in a New York City subway station was put into a choke-hold and repeatedly punched in the face by NYPD officers, according to a video uploaded on YouTube that was first found by DNAInfo. Ronald John had been stopped for jumping a turn-style in the station.
The incident came just three days after an asthmatic man, Eric Garner of Staten Island, was put into a choke-hold by NYPD officers and then collapsed and died. The choke-hold move is banned in New York. Spokespeople for the city have confirmed that they are investigating both the incident involving Ronald John and that of Eric Garner. In fact, just this week the department announced it would be looking over the more than 1,000 choke-hold complaints that have been lodged against the city recently.
In John’s case, as in Garner’s, video shows pretty clearly the officer using the choke-hold move. You can also see the officer punching the John in the face until blood covers the floor in the area:
Just one day before the story of John’s beating broke, soon after Garner’s death, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton announced that the department would be reviewing its use of force practices. An NYPD official also told the New York Times that the force was mulling expanded use of taser stun guns to subdue anyone resisting arrest, as an alternative to more physically aggressive moves like the choke-hold (though, tasers carry a whole set of problems of their own).
Police brutality is a rampant problem in the NYPD, and communities report frequent use of excessive force: Cops smashing the head of a 14-year-old through a window, giving an 84-year-old a head injury for jaywalking, shooting and killing a 16-year-old who officers say was armed despite no gun ever being found at the scene of the crime — the list grows every day.
Still, politicians continue to put trust in officers to follow procedure. In New York, around the same time that Eric Garner’s throat was being encased by officers’ arms, legislators in Albany were passing a bill that would broaden immunity for police officers, barring local governments from meting out punishments for brutality unless they are completed in tandem with the police officers’ union. The New York Civil Liberties union warns, “This legislation would in many cases serve to immunize police officers who have committed acts of misconduct against civilians. What the bill actually proposes is that police officers will police themselves… Such a policy is directly counter to the public interest.”