Grand jury won't indict ex-NYPD officer accused of illegal chokehold in viral incident

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A Queens grand jury will not indict a former police officer charged with using an illegal chokehold on a man he was arresting last year.

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David Afanador, 39, was charged in June 2020 with strangulation and attempted aggravated strangulation after the incident, which was caught on video.

Afanador was among a group of cops arresting a man in Rockaway Beach and appeared to put his arm around the man’s neck.

Those looking on repeatedly shouted at the officers to “stop choking him” for several seconds before the man was led away.

“While the law prohibits me from discussing the proceedings that took place in front of the grand jury, in the interest of transparency I am moving to have the minutes of the grand jury hearings unsealed,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

The man, 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, appeared to lose consciousness. Bellevue was arrested in an unrelated incident in the Bronx a few weeks later after police say he flashed a box cutter and made anti-gay statements in an attempted robbery.

The incident happened shortly after the state outlawed police officers using chokeholds.

Afanador was suspended without pay after the incident and then placed him on restricted assignment.

Afanador was arrested again earlier this year after police on Long Island said he fired a gun into the ocean in Long Beach while off-duty. Police said Afanador was not allowed to carry a gun because of his previous arrests.

He was suspended without pay again after that incident as well.

In 2016, Afanador was acquitted on charges he pistol-whipped a 16-year-old boy during a marijuana bust, breaking two of his teeth. The beating, seen on video, continued until the boy dropped to the ground and was handcuffed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.