The Queens district attorney’s office says it’s investigating an allegation that NYPD cops used a banned restraint technique by placing their knees on the neck of an Elmont man being arrested — an encounter recorded on bystander video and posted to Twitter.
The grainy video, posted by Legal Aid Society lawyer Olayemi Olurin, lasts 18 seconds and shows a person she identifies as Sircarlyle Arnold being restrained as a crowd shouts at the police.
"Look at his knee on his neck!" one man says in the video.
Olurin’s tweet says, "This video shows NYPD officers kneeling on my client, Sircarlyle Arnold’s, neck in Queens, NY, while bystanders beg them to stop. This is eerily similar to what was done to George Floyd in May 2020."
Ikimulisa Livingston, a spokeswoman for Queens district attorney Melinda Katz, said in an email: "We are aware of the allegations against NYPD officers in the case of People v. Sircarlyle Arnold. Our Public Corruption Bureau is in the process of reviewing all evidence in this case, including the officers’ body worn camera videos."
The NYPD’s press office did not respond to an email asking about the officer's status.
A charging document released by Katz’s office is sworn to by Officer Thomas Montario of the 113th Precinct, though it’s unclear whether he was in the video.
In a news release, the Legal Aid Society said Katz’s office should drop criminal charges against Arnold, which stem from an arrest Jan. 2. He's accused of shutting down of traffic by riding a four-wheel ATV on Sutphin Boulevard, without a license, going with it onto the sidewalk, and in circles, then driving the vehicle at Officer Daniel Farina, Montario’s partner, such that Farina "had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck,"
Arnold is charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, disorderly conduct, driving on sidewalks and driving by an unlicensed operator, according to the charging document.
Floyd was killed May 25 by a Minneapolis cop who had put his knee on Floyd’s neck, an encounter that was also caught on bystander video and catalyzed nationwide protests and other unrest for months.