Graphic video that shows Pa. officer with knee on man’s neck draws outrage, protests

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP/KYW/CNN) - Video posted on social media that shows a Pennsylvania police officer with his knee on a man’s neck trying to restrain him has prompted protests and a demand from the local Black Lives Matter group to suspend the officers involved.

The video shot Saturday night from a passerby’s vehicle shows Allentown officers restraining a man on the ground outside a hospital. The man’s face is on the pavement when one officer places their knee on his neck.

Police say they found the man vomiting and staggering toward the emergency room. When they approached, he allegedly spat on them. The officers restrained the man while hospital staff used a spit shield. Police say the man was treated at the hospital then released.

“We’re done. People think that it couldn’t happen here, and it has been happening... So, enough is enough,” said Justan Parker, the leader of Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley. “My takeaway from the video is that Black and brown lives don’t matter to the APD or to the city.”

A protest formed hours after the incident outside the police station, with calls for an investigation. Both Allentown’s mayor, Ray O’Connell, and police chief, Glenn Grannitz, showed up at the protest to ease tensions.

Allentown Police released a statement Sunday night saying the interaction is being investigated and additional videos are being reviewed.

Earlier this month, the police department released its use of force policy at the request of the city council. It bans chokeholds and neck restraints.

It also says that only necessary and reasonable force can be used to control a situation or overcome resistance to arrest, but officers can determine the degree of force necessary based on the amount of resistance used by the suspect.

“It’s really concerning, and it’s scary, in fact, because now that the policy was finally made public, there’s still not a buy in to it. So, it’s like well, then, what are we doing here? What was the point in releasing it if we’re not going to adhere to it?” Parker said.

Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley is planning more protests later this week.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press and KYW, BLM Lehigh Valley via CNN. All rights reserved.