A couple of Instagram videos posted online from Tuesday's San Francisco Giants home opener are raising questions about whether an already-handcuffed Giants fan was being choked by police.
But the San Francisco Police Department is denying that claim, telling the Bay Area blog SFist this morning that the department does not “conduct choke holds.”
SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza characterized the hold as a “carotid restraint" to SFist, a move that's "approved training by the SFPD academy ... and can be used to control a suspect."
Esparza later told NBC Bay Area that "use of force never looks pretty," but that in this case, the officer never actually used force.
In this instance, Esparza said, the officer was able to bring the person into compliance by talking to him.
Esparza said that the fan and his two friends were reportedly behaving in a drunk and unruly manner. All three were kicked out of the game but not cited.
Opening day attendee BigBodyCisco posted the video on Instagram Tuesday, describing the incident in his own words:
“Here's the 2nd Half of the video. We were walkin around at the game & seen this kid who was already in handcuffs & wasn't resisting arrest being choked out by this cop. Granted he was talkin back to the cop. But this cop must of been in a bad mood. Cause he tried his hardest to try and put this kid to sleep. But couldn't. His partner was even lookin at him like "damn, is all that necessary?". I have friends that are cops. But seeing stuff like this pisses me off. Cause they go to far sometimes. Smh.“
Cisco, who posted the video to YouTube Wednesday, told NBC Bay Area that when he walked up to the scene of the encounter at AT&T Park, the person was already in handcuffs.
"The kid said something to the officer and the officer was behind him and put him in a rear chokehold," he said. "The people around watched and thought the cop would stop choking him, but he didn't and then they started saying, 'He's not fighting back.'"
The first video shows a SFPD officer trying to restrain a person in handcuffs dressed in an orange Giants t-shirt, putting a firm hold around his neck.
“He’s not fighting back, he’s not fighting back,” a few onlookers can be heard shouting in the video.
“They are going to kill him,” another person can be heard saying.
A number of people have asked on BigBodyCisco’s Instagram feed whether the officer’s actions were warranted even though the person wasn’t resisting him.
In a post on BustedCoverage.com, blogger Jon Kinsey writes:
“The interesting part here is that super cop’s fellow cop doesn’t jump in to help him. I’m obviously not a cop, but I’ve watched hundreds of Cops episodes and if a cop is having trouble with a punk, his fellow cops jump in. You know the drill. It’s like there’s a fumble on the play and all the cops jump on the criminal. Not here. His partner just watches. Very, very interesting.”
Videos courtesy of @bigbodycisco of bigbodyradio.com