David Afanador is New York City police officer who has been accused of choking a mentally-ill man until he was unconscious and has since been suspended from his job without pay, according to the NYPD.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Afanador Is A 15-Year Veteran of the Force
Afanador operated out of the 77th precinct and worked in Queens.
He started out working less than 1,000 hours at a base pay of $42,488 and only eight hours of overtime, according to CAPstat. However, in the fiscal year of 2015, he worked 1,751 regular hours and 386 hours of overtime and was making $76,488 in salary.
2. Afanador Has Been Suspended without Pay for Putting A Man in A Chokehold
Afanador has been accused by City Councilman candidate Anthony Beckford of choking a man until he was unconscious as three other officers held him down and held one of his arms behind his back.
According to what Afanador told a bystander during the body cam footage, he had identified the man — before choking him — as someone that he knew he was bipolar from the man’s previous encounters with police. He said the man was taken to the ground because he saw the man grab something and “square up”: “The minute I saw him flex on him, that’s when he goes down,” he said.
A 29-second video of the incident posted on Twitter appeared to show the officer holding the man in a chokehold for several seconds until another officer taps him on the shoulder and he releases it; by that time, the man on the ground appears to be unconscious.
According to NYPD’s Patrol Guide, Procedure 221-01 defines a chokehold as follows: “A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.” On page 3 of the document, the guide clearly states: “Members of the service SHALL NOT: a. Use a chokehold.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea released a tweet in which he did not name the officer, but said that the officer who put the man in the chokehold had been suspended without pay:
3. Afanador Was Named In A Lawsuit Accusing Officers of Assault
In court documents, Afanador was named along with four other officers in the 2009 case “Williams v. City of New York et al.”
In the complaint, a man named Ranique Williams alleged he was filming officers performing a strip search on someone else and as a result, he was arrested and assaulted:
In retaliation, during the false arrest of plaintiff, defendants P.O. Rodriguez, P.O. Afanador, P.O. Farrell, P.O. Davis, and P.O. Murphy committed excessive force against plaintiff by maliciously, gratuitously, and unnecessarily pushing plaintiff, slapping plaintiff’s phone from his hand, grabbing plaintiff, repeatedly striking plaintiff in face and head, twisting plaintiff’s arms, placing excessively tight handcuffs on plaintiff’s wrists, lifting plaintiff from the ground by his handcuffs, yanking the chain of plaintiff’s handcuffs, punching plaintiff in the face while handcuffed and in a police vehicle, and pulling the hood of plaintiff’s sweat jacket over his head.
Williams also alleged that he was “unnecessarily” dragged from the vehicle and thrown into a cell while was handcuffed.
The complaint did not specify which officers were physically involved, but Williams’ lawyer did note that they were included because, “Those defendants who did not touch plaintiff, witnessed these acts, but failed to intervene and protect plaintiff from this conduct.”
Williams said that he was left with facial contusions and lacerations as well as soreness in his neck and pain and numbness in his wrists. The complaint went on to allege that officers unlawfully confiscated his camera and lied in subsequent statements about what happened during their arrest of Williams.
According to the court document, the case against Williams was dismissed. “As a result of defendants’ actions,” the complaint read, “(the) plaintiff experienced personal and physical injuries, pain and suffering, fear, an invasion of privacy, psychological pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, and financial loss.”
In their response to the complaint, the defendants denied all allegations of impropriety.
However, as part of the dismissal of Williams’ case, he received $37,500 in 2010.
4. Afanador Was Named In A Lawsuit Accusing Officers of Assault and Property Damage in 2015
In 2015, Afanador was also named in another lawsuit, “Jack et al v. City of New York et al,” wherein he was named as one of three plainclothes officers who were involved in what was alleged to be a “warrantless” search.
According to the complaint listed in court documents, Charlene Jack alleged that she was told “Shut the f**k up you black b***h” and “slammed … into an adjoining wall.” She also said her sister was being shoved and a male who had arrived and asked the officers to stop was slammed to the ground and cuffed. Jack said none of the officers identified themselves.
Four other officers, the complaint alleged, “were assaulted and thrown to the floor, placed in cuffs and had guns placed to their heads.” The complaint further alleged property damaged:
Additional officers came in and ransacked the apartment. Doors were broken, the living room was upturned, and all of (the) plaintiffs’ possessions were removed from drawers and thrown on the floor and into the hallway. The officers found no weapons and no floor and into the hallway. The officers found no weapons and no contraband. The officers did not have a warrant.
All charges against Jack and the others arrested were dismissed, according to the court documents, and a dismissal document from 2016 implies that the lawsuit was settled. According to CAPstat, the case was settled for $70,000.
5. Afanador Was Found Not Guilty In A Police Brutality Case in 2016
In 2015, Afanador was sued by Thomas Stevens, the father of Kaheem Tribble, who was 16 at the time that Stevens alleged Afanador and another officer, Tyrane Isaac, beat him. According to the New York Post, the two chased Tribble before he was cornered:
The video then shows a man ID’d as Isaacs and taking a swing at the teen, and Afanador lunging forward, gun drawn. Tribble testified the service weapon hit him in the mouth, breaking his two bottom teeth.
His attorney, Amy Rameau, told the New York Daily News, “These police officers behaved themselves in a truly deplorable manner. This type of conduct should not be tolerated and I want to see them prosecuted for what they did to my client.”
That civil case, however, was officially dismissed in 2018.
Afanador was also brought up on criminal charges by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that Isaac, according to the district attorney, punched Tribble several times in the face while he was down on the ground:
The longer video clip, the investigation further revealed, allegedly shows that Afanador was locating and retrieving a bag of marijuana that Tribble allegedly tossed before running away, approaching the teen with the bag and allegedly striking him in the face with it.
Tribble pled guilty to the marijuana possession charge for which he was originally arrested.
“Clearly, [NYPD] Commissioner [Bill] Bratton has seen the video and reacted very aggressively in the sense of saying there have to be consequences when anything is done the wrong way,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle at the time.
However, Afanador and Isaac were found not guilty by a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge in 2016.