Man in alleged police chokehold arrested in separate assault

Regional News

NEW YORK (AP) — A man whose takedown by police last month led to an officer being charged for using what officials said was an illegal chokehold has himself been taken into custody in connection with an attempted robbery and slashing, the New York Police Department said Tuesday.

Ricky Bellevue, 35, and another man approached two other men and made anti-gay statements around noon on Tuesday in the Bronx, police said.

According to police, Bellevue showed a box cutter and attempted to take one of the men’s bags, slashing him in the face and hands in the ensuing struggle before being taken into custody by police.

The NYPD said charges including robbery as a hate crime and assault were pending.

Last month, cellphone video showed Officer David Afanador putting his arm around Bellevue’s neck after he had been tackled by police and as he lay face down on the boardwalk in Queens.

Afanador was suspended and charged with strangulation and attempted aggravated strangulation.

He pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer said he was facing a rush to judgment amid public pressure to hold police officers accountable for alleged misconduct following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Attorney Sanford Rubenstein, who is representing Bellevue in the June incident, said he suffers from mental illness, and had been admitted by his family to a mental health unit at a hospital in late June only to be discharged last week.

In regard to the incident on Tuesday, Rubenstein said, Bellevue is “still a victim, he’s a victim of an illegal chokehold, this doesn’t change that.”

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