Less than two weeks after Governor Cuomo signed a ban on police use of chokeholds into law, a young Black man was choked unconscious in Rockaway Park. Videos of the event quickly spread on the Internet, and community members called out to Queens Defenders for help.

While Lori Zeno, Executive Director, went to the hospital to check on the young man, staff and attorneys gathered at the NYPD 100th Precinct for a peaceful protest. The quick response by Queens Defenders and other community members resulted in a swift investigation by NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea, leading to a suspension of the officer without pay.

“It is important that we keep holding police officers accountable for their actions. The officer involved here used a chokehold to strangle my client until he was unconscious, because according to the officer, ‘he was being disorderly.’ This officer needs to be fired and prosecuted. He is the one who committed a crime in this circumstance. We will not stop until the people of The Rockaways can feel safe as they travel through their own neighborhood. They should not fear the very people who are sworn to protect them.”

Lori Zeno –  Executive Director, Queens Defenders

Read more about the incident in the New York Times here.


Photo Credit: Fuljens Henry, @FuljensHenry