Police in Allentown, Pennsylvania, said they are investigating after video appears to show an officer kneeling on a man’s neck while a second officer and another person hold the man’s hands behind his back.
An investigation into the incident, which took place Saturday, is ongoing, Allentown Police Assistant Chief of Support Services Bill Lake told CNN.
A statement from the police chief said the man was behaving erratically and was noncompliant when officers attempted to restrain him.
Officers were at the emergency room of a hospital Saturday when they saw a man vomiting and staggering in the street before stopping in the driveway of the emergency room, according to a statement from Chief Glenn Granitz. After he was approached by officers and hospital staff, he allegedly yelled and spit at them, the chief said in the statement.
“As the officers attempted to restrain the individual, all parties fell to the ground,” Granitz said in the statement. “The individual continued to be noncompliant which required officers to restrain the individual and the hospital applied a spit shield.”
The man was treated and released from the hospital, the statement said. He has not been identified and it’s not clear whether he suffered any injuries from police restraining him.
Granitz added that the investigation into the incident is moving swiftly.
Lake said that the Allentown police chief, mayor, and other town officials met with community members late Saturday night and early Sunday morning at the police station.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said in a statement that he will issue a statement at the conclusion of the investigation.
According to the Allentown Police Department’s use of force policy issued on January 29 “use of neck restraints or similar weaponless control techniques (choke holds) is prohibited. Preventing imminent death or serious bodily injury to a member or citizen is the only possible exception to the prohibition.”
Video shows an officer’s knee on man’s neck for about 8 seconds
The video, posted to Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley by a person who asked CNN to remain anonymous, begins with someone driving up on the scene which appears to be outside a hospital.
A person in scrubs is seen observing the incident, and it appears another individual in scrubs is assisting with the person on the ground.
As the man is on the ground with his hands behind his back, one officer places his elbow and then his knee on the man’s neck.
It’s unclear what led to the video being recorded and what happened after the video. It appears the officer’s elbow first, and then his knee were on the man’s neck for approximately eight seconds each.
It is also unclear what medical condition the man was in at the time of the incident
One person believed to be in the car a fair distance away while this is being filmed, can be heard on the recording saying, “I thought we mattered,” and “We don’t matter, bro.”
Another can be heard saying “on his neck, bro,” remarking on what she can see.
A person in hospital scrubs approaches the videographer, who says “you can’t touch my phone,” just before the video ends.
“Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley (BLMLV) stands proudly with our community against the latest case of police brutality right here at home. It took less than 2 weeks after Allentown Police Department (APD) released their use-of-force policy, to remind us it means nothing,” Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley told CNN. “APD, the mayor’s administration, and St. Lukes have failed to provide the transparency and immediate action we seek.”
Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell’s office told CNN they had no comment.
CNN has reached out to the Allentown police association and Saint Luke’s Hospital for comment.