Pennsylvania authorities have launched a probe after an officer was filmed restraining a man by kneeling on his head in Allentown. The video of the incident went viral, further fueling nationwide outrage over police brutality.
Captured outside St. Luke’s Hospital-Sacred Heart Hospital and widely shared by Black Lives Matter activists and even George Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump, the disturbing clip shows two officers restraining a screaming black man, while another cop briefly puts his knee on the suspect’s neck.
The incident, not fatal but painfully reminiscent of the shocking death of George Floyd in a botched arrest, triggered calls for the immediate termination and charges against the officers.
A small group of protesters staged a spontaneous rally on Saturday night and marched on the local police department.
In an apparent attempt to quell tensions, Allentown Police Department chief Glenn Granitz issued a statement on Sunday evening, sharing some details of the incident and the ongoing probe.
What the viral clip doesn’t show, Granitz said, is that the man was behaving erratically, “vomiting and staggering in the street, eventually stopping in the driveway of the emergency room.”
The individual began to yell, scream and spit at the officers and hospital staff. As the officers attempted to restrain the individual, all parties fell to the ground. The individual continued to be noncompliant, which required officers to restrain the individual and the hospital applied a spit shield.
The man was then escorted into the hospital, where he was treated and later released, the police chief added, reassuring the public that the investigation into the officers’ use of force is “moving swiftly.”
Calling for some patience, Granitz promised to release more information and “relevant videos” later this week. While the brief clip shared online is “significant” evidence, he said the “entirety of the interaction is being reviewed.”