Pennsylvania Police Officer Filmed Kneeling on Man's Neck Outside Hospital

An investigation has been launched after a Pennsylvania police officer was captured on camera kneeling on a man's neck outside a hospital.

The incident occurred in Allentown on Saturday evening, Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley wrote on Twitter.

The group posted a 26-second clip that showed three officers restraining a man. One of the officers is seen using his elbow to pin the man down by the neck, before later adjusting position to use his knee instead.

Alongside the video, Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley noted that the neck restraint was the same one "used to murder" George Floyd.

BREAKING:@AllentownPolice were filmed Saturday evening applying the same force to a resident that the cops used to murder #GeorgeFloyd.
This happened here in #Allentown outside a hospital.
We demand answers. We demand change.
We're Done Dying.#DefundThePolice

— Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley (@BLMlehighvalley) July 12, 2020

"This happened here in #Allentown outside a hospital. We demand answers. We demand change. We're Done Dying," the group wrote on Twitter along with the hashtag #DefundThePolice.

Floyd died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes while he struggled for air and said he couldn't breathe.

That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and three other officers involved in Floyd's death are also facing charges.

Floyd's death touched off weeks of sustained protests against police brutality and racism across the U.S.—with many protesters calling to "defund the police."

Justan Parker, of Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley, told Newsweek that the incident was especially shocking because it came days after the police department released its use of force policy.

"It's really shocking. The reason it's really shocking is not just because it's right after George Floyd but literally, nine days prior to this happening, the Allentown Police Department released their use of force policy and the knee to the neck is prohibited, along with making sure that officers intervene if they see excessive use of force being done.

"So it's just a slap in the face to the residents of the city that no later than nine days after this, we have this incident."

Use of neck restraints and chokeholds are prohibited by officers with the Allentown Police Department, according to the department's use of force policy. "Preventing imminent death or serious bodily injury to a member or citizen is the only possible exception to the prohibition," the policy states.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, shared the video of Saturday night's incident in Allentown, on his Twitter page.

"@AllentownPolice held down this man's face to the pavement and then one of its officers placed their knee on his neck!!" Crump wrote. "This happened yesterday and is exactly what led to #GeorgeFloyd's death. We need this officer's name and badge."

Rapper and actor Ice Cube also commented on the incident on Twitter, writing: "This why the fight will continue until we get some respect as citizens."

Allentown Police Chief Glenn Granitz told WPVI that the police department and the Lehigh County District Attorney are investigating the incident.

Granitz said the officers had been outside St. Luke's Hospital-Sacred Heart on West Chew Street for an unrelated matter when they saw a man outside the hospital vomiting and staggering.

Philadelphia protest
Protesters hold signs stating "BLACK LIVES MATTER" and "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE" during a march against police brutality through Center City on June 1, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mark Makela/Getty Images

He said the man's "erratic behaviour" resulted in the officers and hospital staff getting involved.

"The individual began to yell, scream and spit at the officers and hospital staff," Granitz told the station. "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."

He man was taken to hospital for treatment and then released, Granitz said.

He added that the investigation into the incident includes interviews with witnesses, a review of the video posted on social media as well as other videos that captured it. The department is planning on releasing those videos this week, he said.

Granitz and the Lehigh County District Attorney have been contacted for additional comment.

Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley is planning a protest against police brutality for Monday. "Allentown has been put on notice!" the group wrote on Facebook. "You will hear from community leaders designated to speak. Enough is enough!"

Parker added that the protest is calling for body camera footage of the incident to be released immediately and the officers involved to be suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

"These officers are on the street, they're applying these excessive force tactics," Parker said.

He added: "We're demanding accountability. Once the investigation is over, that there be terminations if it is proven, which we've already seen in the video, but if it's proven that the use of force was excessive and the policy was violated… there has to be accountability for that.

"We're demanding that the city of Allentown defund the police and reallocate funding into the city, into local organizations and back into residents."

This article has been updated with comments from Justan Parker.