A Buffalo police officer was caught on video with his arms around a man’s neck while laying on top of him on a public sidewalk as several witnesses voiced concerns the officer was choking the man to death.
But police say they were only trying to save the man’s life.
They say the man, Parris Stevens, had swallowed a bag filled with 39 smaller bags containing crack cocaine.
Had they not squeezed his neck until his eyes started bugging out as several witnesses claimed, he may have lost his life.
However, Stevens apparently succeeded in swallowing the cocaine because he did not vomit it out until after he had been transported to the hospital.
The incident took place last Wednesday as Stevens was standing on the sidewalk with other men drinking. Police said when they approached him and asked for identification, he swallowed the cocaine.
Witnesses say they did not see him swallowing anything, but saw a cop body slamming him to the sidewalk, which was when one of them started recording.
The video, which lasts less than three minutes, was posted on Facebook and quickly went viral, prompting the local television media to make inquiries.
On Thursday, the local media reported that Buffalo police internal affairs had launched an investigation.By Friday, the local media reported that Stevens had swallowed the cocaine, so the dramatic choking video was actually a compassionate live-saving attempt.According to ABC 7:
Officials now believe that a controversial cell phone video that showed a Buffalo Police officer subduing a suspect is not evidence of excessive force, but rather proof that the officer was trying to save the suspect’s life.
“From the early review that has been done at this point, it seems like the action of the police officer potentially could have saved the life of this suspect,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
So rather than the officer being disciplined by internal affairs, we should expect him to receive an award for his life-saving efforts. That is, if they ever release his name.