No charges for Allentown police officers involved in controversial restraint, district attorney says

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Friday, July 17, 2020
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The Lehigh County District Attorney's Office said Friday afternoon it will not file charges against the officers involved in restraining a man.

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Lehigh County District Attorney's Office said Friday afternoon it will not file charges against the officers involved in restraining a man outside St. Luke's Hospital last weekend.

According to the report, the two Allentown officers involved were outside of the hospital on Saturday, July 11, when they observed a man, identified as Edward Borrero, "walking and stumbling in the middle of Chew Street, vomiting several times into the street, walking with a staggered gait and screaming incoherently."

District Attorney James Martin said the officers, whose names are not being released at this time, concluded the man was in distress and needed medial attention.

After Borrero acted aggressively toward a hospital employee, the officers determined they needed "to detain him for his own safety," the report says.

READ MORE: Video captures controversial restraint by Allentown police officers

The officers attempted to put him in handcuffs, but Borrero resisted the attempt and tried to pull away from the officers.

The report said that in order to "gain control," one officer took Borrero to the ground.

"While on the ground, Borrero continued to resist and during this time was yelling and spitting. An officer then moved his knee to Mr. Borrero's head (not his neck) in order to place him into emergency immobilization so as to safely, efficiently and effectively keep him from moving his body to avoid being handcuffed and placed into custody," the report said. "Once that was accomplished, the officer immediately removed his knee from Borrero's head, but very briefly, had to put it back on his head again, while Borrero was spitting at the officers. "

A hospital employee was then able to place a spit shield on Borrero.

The officers said they continued to try to help Borrero, and as the conducted a search of his pockets, they found an uncapped hypodermic needle in his shorts.

He was then walked by the officers into the hospital emergency room, the report said. He was treated and released on July 12.

The incident was witnessed by a medical technician, a nurse, an ER physician and two security officers, the report said. It was also captured on cell phone video posted to social media, and a security camera.

Borrero was never jailed or placed into custody, however, he was charged by summons with public drunkenness, possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct.

Martin said based on his review, "there is absolutely no evidence to support filing criminal charges against either of the Allentown police officers involved in this incident."

Video posted to social media of the incident went viral - drawing comparisons to the death of George Floyd, who died as a white police officer in Minneapolis placed a knee to his back and neck.

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."