New video shows what led up to controversial restraint involving Allentown police officer

Annie McCormick Image
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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The Allentown Police Department has released a nine-minute video showing a different angle of the controversial restraint involving a man outside St Luke's Hospital over the weekend.

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Allentown Police Department has released a nine-minute video showing a different angle of the controversial restraint involving a man outside St. Luke's Hospital over the weekend.

During the first four minutes of the video released by police, you can see the man vomiting and appearing to suffer from a medical condition.

Chief Glenn Granitz with the Allentown Police Department says officers were outside the hospital on an unrelated matter when they observed a male outside staggering in the street.

"The observed erratic behavior resulted in the officers and hospital staff interacting with the individual. 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 and the hospital applied a spit shield. The male in question was escorted into the hospital for treatment. The male was treated and later released," said Granitz.

The police video shows the physical altercation involving police and hospital staff.

Another video, that has gone viral, shows the officer kneeling on the man's neck from the vantage point of a driver passing by.

Residents in the community are demanding answers as to why such force was needed.

"It's a clear example that in this moment that the Allentown Police Department is not sensitive to the needs and pain that the black community and community of color in Allentown is going through," said Dr. Hasshan Batts, executive director of Promise Neighborhoods.

READ MORE: Video captures Allentown police officer leaning on man's neck outside hospital

It's not clear if the man restrained was Black or Latino or what race the officer is.

"Whether he's Black, Latino, he's a person of color and this is a minority-majority city," said Batts.

"During the physical interaction, a breathable spit mask is placed over the head of the individual. The mask is used to protect hospital staff, officers and others from coming into contact with bodily fluids such as vomit and saliva The final portion of the video depicts hospital staff and police escorting the individual into the hospital. The individual received treatment and was later released," said police on Monday night.

Action News made multiple attempts to speak to the woman who took the viral video. She was reportedly a passerby.

Police have not announced charges against the man. His identity and the officer's identity have not been released.

Batts said his organization has been in touch with the family of the man seen restrained in the video.

"He's terrified. We've been in contact with some of his family members trying to get his name, to get him to sit down. The people making the video are terrified there's a fear of retaliation," Batts said.

Allentown police policy states the use of neck restraints or chokeholds are not allowed unless it prevents "imminent death or serious bodily injury to an officer or citizen."

The Lehigh County District Attorney continues to investigate the matter and will release a statement when his review is complete.