WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — Newly surfaced video shows an NYPD detective allegedly using a banned chokehold on a man while responding a noise complaint.
Video provided by the Legal Aid Society shows the detective grab Tomas Medina, 33, by the neck and shove him into a car in the encounter on July 14 in Washington Heights.
They argue and Det. Fabio Nunez puts Medina in what appears to be a chokehold, which is listed as banned by the NYPD patrol guide, for more than 20 seconds. The officer then draws his stun gun and uses it on Medina. After that, they all leave the area covered by a security camera, but footage shows more than 20 officers rushing to the scene at 206th Street and 10th Avenue on July 14.
“The NYPD clearly has not learned a single lesson on banned chokeholds since the killing of Eric Garner,” said Legal Aid Society attorney Cynthia Conti-Cook, referring to a Staten Island man’s death in 2014 after a police officer placed him in a chokehold. “Moreover, how does the Department expect to mend relations with communities of color when its ‘neighborhood’ officers resort to this sort of brute force during a routine noise complaint on first impulse.”
An NYPD spokeswoman said that Medina “physically resisted arrest for a prolonged period of time.” He also allegedly bit the detective’s finger and scratched his bicep, according to the criminal complaint. Medina also allegedly struck a second officer in the face. This was not explicitly shown on video.
“Despite officers’ continued attempts to deescalate the situation, the suspect continued to resist arrest,” an NYPD spokeswoman said. “The suspect was uninjured, and was eventually placed under arrest and taken into custody. The incident is under review.”
Medina was charged with assault and resisting arrest. The Legal Aid Society has called for the charges to be dropped.
The city has paid out multiple settlements for case’s involving Nunez, officials with the city’s law office confirmed. In 2008, a $38,500 settlement was awarded to Steven Soto and in 2013, a $40,000 settlement was awarded to Luis and Prisca Martinez.
Nunez, 46, has been with the NYPD for 18 years, according to the New York Daily News.
He was designated as a neighborhood coordination officer in 2015 and his role is to build stronger ties between the NYPD and the people living in the area served by the 34th Precinct.