A man who was placed in a chokehold by an NYPD cop in Queens on June 21 was arrested on Tuesday in The Bronx and charged with a hate crime.
According to the Daily Mail, Ricky Bellevue and another man approached a gay couple on the sidewalk at East 149th Street and 3rd Avenue at about noon on Tuesday. The 35-year-old then reportedly followed the couple up the street while yelling homophobic slurs at them. He also reportedly brandished a box cutter and tried to grab one of their designer bags. A fight then broke out.
One of the gay men was gut in the face and both hands by Bellevue’s box cutter and was treated for minor injuries. After his arrest, Bellevue was charged with felony robbery as a hate crime and taken to Lincoln Hospital where he was put on suicide watch, according to the Daily Mail.
The chokehold used on Bellevue was filmed by a bystander and subsequently went viral. Two weeks ago, the NYPD suspended the officer for slamming Bellevue to the ground and using the chokehold, which was banned eight days prior by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Accountability in policing is essential,” Dermot Shea, NYPD’s commissioner, wrote in a tweet regarding officer’s use of force. “After a swift investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau, a police officer involved in a disturbing apparent chokehold incident in Queens has been suspended without pay.”
He continued: “While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary. We are committed to transparency as this process continues.”
The New York Daily News reports that the suspended officer is David Afanador.