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Video of Allentown police officer kneeling on man's neck: Woman who took it says she was shocked, and George Floyd's attorney weighs in

Daniel Patrick Sheehan, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) on

Published in News & Features

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The woman who shot a video outside Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown that shows a police officer putting his knee on a man's head and neck during an arrest said the man was screaming "Mira, mira!" -- Spanish for 'Look, look!'"

"That means he knew what was going on and he was screaming for someone like me to see," said the woman, an Allentown resident who doesn't want her name made public and uses a pseudonym on Facebook.

The video prompted a large protest outside Allentown police headquarters Saturday night by Black Lives Matter activists and others who said they were stunned that the officer appeared to use a restraining move similar to the one that killed Minneapolis resident George Floyd and prompted nationwide protests against police brutality.

Assistant Chief Bill Lake said the incident came under immediate review, in keeping with the department's use-of-force policy.

"As soon as this came to light, we got the ball rolling," he said.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said his office will review Allentown's conclusions, adding he can't comment on the case until that process is done.

 

The woman, who lives near the hospital, said she and a friend drove by and saw three officers and a Sacred Heart employee surrounding the unidentified man, who was kneeling on the sidewalk.

She drove around the block to get another look and began filming as she approached because she could see the officers now had the man on the ground and were struggling to restrain him.

The video, less than 30 seconds long, shows one of the officers putting his shoulder and elbow on the man's back before pressing his knee on his head and neck.

In a slightly longer version, the hospital employee walks over to the woman's car and tells her she is blocking the street and has to move.

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