After a video emerged over the weekend of a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck in Allentown, Pennsylvania, protesters have come out onto the streets demanding accountability.
The 26 second video was posted to a local Black Lives Matter Twitter account on Saturday and was quickly shared widely.
For some viewers, it evoked the footage of the death of George Floyd, who died in May after being restrained by four police officers, one of whom knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The Allentown police department had changed its rules earlier in July, in the wake of national protests against Floyd’s death, to disallow chokeholds and kneeling on someone’s neck as forms of restraint.
In the video from Allentown, the unidentified man is heard shouting after the officer places a knee on his neck. People filming the video are heard to say “look, we don’t matter, bro,” “get off his neck” and “he can’t breathe.”
A lawyer representing Floyd’s family, Ben Crump, shared the video on Twitter, adding: “This happened yesterday and is exactly what led to George Floyd’s death. We need this officer’s name and badge number NOW.”
A group of protesters marched on a police precinct in Allentown on Saturday in response to the video, chanting Floyd’s name and “hands up, don’t shoot,” according to the Morning Call, a local newspaper.
The following day, police released a statement saying an investigation had been opened into the incident.
They also said the man, who was later released after being treated in the hospital, had been “vomiting and staggering in the street,” leading to police officers to approach him.
“The observed erratic behavior resulted in the officers and hospital staff interacting with the individual,” the statement read. “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 non-compliant which required officers to restrain the individual,” the statement went on.
Local Black Lives Matter protesters have rejected the police explanation, saying that the use of force seen in the video would never be justified, the Morning Call reported.
A further protest is planned for 5 p.m. on Monday.
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