A city councilman from Queens on Wednesday sought detailed records of police use of chokeholds from the board that investigates civilian complaints against police.
Councilman Rory Lancman sent a letter to the Civilian Complaint Review Board demanding to know the number of police chokehold cases that occurred each year from 2015 to 2018 and the status of any investigations into the incidents.
CCRB numbers show three chokehold allegations have been substantiated by the CCRB so far in 2018. Eight more were found to be without merit; 22 could not be resolved with a determination either way, and five involved officers who could not be identified.
In all of 2017, there were 11 substantiated allegations, an increase from three substantiated cases in 2016.
But since those cases could have happened in any prior year, one can’t know whether chokeholds are actually increasing or decreasing, Lancman says.
“It’s essential for me to be able to do my job to know whether they are increasing or decreasing,” Lancman said. “These chokeholds are deadly, and we need to eradicate them. We can’t know the effectiveness of what the administration has done to combat chokeholds without at least this basic information.”
A CCRB spokeswoman said Wednesday the board had received and was reviewing Lancman’s request.
The move comes after the Daily News reported exclusively on the case of Detective Fabio Nunez, who used a chokehold during the arrest of Tomas Medina, 33, on July 14 in upper Manhattan.
Medina said he couldn’t breathe when Nunez applied the chokehold, evoking memories of the case of Eric Garner, who said, “I can’t breathe” 11 times during his fatal arrest on Staten Island by Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
His lawyers said the chokehold violated NYPD procedure, but Chief of Department Terence Monahan in general defended Nunez, saying in a video distributed department-wide that he handled the arrest appropriately and adding that Medina “violently resisted.”
Nunez’s union, the Detectives Endowment Association, also defended him.