Man arrested by police in Manhattan says officer put him in a chokehold

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Man arrested by police in Inwood says officer put him in a chokehold
Kemberly Richardson reports on a man claiming police used a banned chokehold on him during his arrest in Manhattan.

INWOOD, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man is claiming police used excessive force when they used a department banned chokehold on him during his arrest.

The entire incident was caught on surveillance video.

It happened last month on West 206th Street in Manhattan.

The man's attorney is calling for a review of what happened by the NYPD. The Civilian Complaint Review Board is looking at the case.

"Detective Nunez has made this into a very sticky situation to say the least," said attorney Gurmeet Singh, who is now demanding that all charges against his client be dropped.

"Was there a reason to actually lawfully pursue an arrest of Mr. Medina? I would argue there was none," he said.

The video shows Tomas Medina with friends. Singh says the group was listening to music and there was a noise complaint.

Detective Fabio Nunez and his partner approached. Nunez picked up a speaker and walked towards the patrol car.

"Mr Medina said this speaker belongs to the garage," said Singh. He insists the music was off when the officers arrived and that his client, who was not made available Monday, did nothing wrong, when suddenly things went very wrong.

"That's when it got ratcheted up to this whole other level of what led to the chokehold," siad Singh.

Medina is seen walking away from the officer, who follows, pulls out his cuffs and grabs the 33-year-old. There is a struggle and in a split second Nunez wraps his arm tightly around Medina's neck for more than 20 seconds.

The move, a chokehold, is banned by the NYPD. It was a tactic used to subdue Eric Garner, who died while being arrested in 2014.

"He was being suffocated, they were cutting off his circulation," said Singh.

Medina was resisting and that is when Nunez pulled out a taser and zapped him several times. Singh says it caused injuries.

Backup poured into the area. Medina was charged with assault on a police officer.

Singh says there are several other cases that have been filed against the same officer that were settled.

The NYPD released the following statement:

"Police officers responded to the Washington Heights location over a loud noise complaint. The suspect physically resisted arrest for a prolonged period of time. One officer was bitten by the suspect. Despite officers continued attempts to deescalate the situation, the suspect continued to resist arrest. The suspect was uninjured, and was eventually placed under arrest and taken into custody. The incident is under review."


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