A New York City police officer was arrested Thursday on charges of strangulation and attempted strangulation after an incident last weekend alleged to have involved a banned chokehold.
This is at least the second time officer David Afanador, 39, has faced criminal charges over the alleged use of excessive force.
The first came in 2014, six weeks after the death of Eric Garner sparked nationwide outrage and protests against police violence.
During the first incident, Afanador was recorded on video allegedly pistol-whipping a 16-year-old suspect, breaking two of the suspect's teeth. Afanador and his partner were acquitted of wrongdoing and returned to active duty in 2016.
In Sunday's altercation, NYPD officers were recorded tackling three men who reportedly had taunted them for at least 10 minutes. Afanador was seen taking down one of the men, Ricky Bellevue, and snaking his arm around Bellevue's neck for several seconds as Bellevue lay on the boardwalk in the Rockaway Beach section of the city.
Bellevue was treated at a hospital for a cut on his face, according to local TV news reports.
After the incident captured by the officer's body cameras, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Monday that Afanador was suspended because "the hand around the neck is the hand around the neck."
Chokeholds have been banned by the NYPD for several years, and particular scrutiny has fallen upon the department's use of the prohibited technique following the death of Eric Garner after a police officer put him in a chokehold.
A grand jury declined to indict the police officer involved in the Garner case.
Shea's announcement of Afanador's suspension came hours after videos of the incident began to circulate on social media, marking a shift in department's procedures.
"I think we have an obligation to act swiftly but we also have to get it right and to inform the public about what's going on," Shea told TV station NY1.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the department's response.
"The public needs to see when something goes wrong, there are consequences," he said.
Although Afandaor has not faced disciplinary measures for using a chokehold in the past, city records indicate that he has been involved in eight complaints filed with the city's police watchdog agency. The incidents included using other types of physical force, but all complaints were found to be unsubstantiated or led to his exoneration.