Just a week after Eric Garner died on Staten Island after being arrested and put in a chokehold by the New York Police Department, the NYPD is investigating another incident where the banned tactic was used to arrest a suspect.
Ronald Johns, 22, was arrested July 14 — three days before Garner’s death — in a subway station in East Harlem on a fare-evading charge. Police said he walked through the emergency gate without paying.
Video of Johns' arrest made the rounds on Facebook for its similarities to Garner’s death at police hands. The footage shows Johns getting tackled to the ground by two NYPD officers; one attempts to cuff his hands while another subdues him in a chokehold. Johns, who was resisting being handcuffed, struggled with police, prompting one officer to tighten the chokehold while the other punched him in the face. The same officer hit Johns again after he covered his face to prevent being punched again.
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Johns was charged with fare evasion, resisting arrest and criminal trespass, all misdemeanor charges. He reportedly refused to show his identification to cops and would not put his hands behind his back to be arrested.
The New York Post said witnesses on the scene said, “They got you, youngblood,” and “Stop resisting so they don’t hit you.”
East Harlem activist Rev. Kelmy Rodriquez posted the video, which he said was sent to him anonymously, on Facebook. He also posted a second video which showed Johns with a bloody face covered in pepper spray.
News of Johns' arrest comes days after Garner, an asthmatic Staten Island man, died while in a chokehold by the NYPD. Garner was being arrested, according to authorities, for selling untaxed cigarettes — an offense he had been arrested for previously. In the video, he says he cannot breathe but police say he “absolutely resisted arrest.” Garner, who was married and had six children, died of a heart attack during the arrest and was pronounced dead on arrival at Richmond University Medical Center.
Commissioner William Bratton said during a Wednesday press conference that the NYPD was conducting a "top to bottom review of all of the training this department provides to its personnel. ... I would anticipate that coming out of this effort that there will be a retraining of every member in our city police department in the weeks, months and potential years ahead.”
Chokeholds have been prohibited by the NYPD since 1993.