NM Officer Heard Saying ‘I’m Going To...Choke You Out’ Before Suspect Dies
An Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officer is being charged with involuntary manslaughter after a suspect died from a choke hold during an arrest, according to KOB 4 News.
- During a traffic stop in February, police learned that Antonio Valenzuela had a warrant for probation and parole violations.
- Police used tasers at least twice to stop the suspect as he fled the scene. They eventually caught up with Valenzuela and placed him on the ground.
- In the body cam footage, obtained by KOB 4, Officer Christopher Smelser tells Valenzuela, “I’m going to f*****g choke you out.”
- Chokeholds became highly controversial after the 2014 murder of Eric Garner by the New York Police Department.
- Valenzuela died on the scene after he was heard on camera gasping for air. According to the police report, Smelser used a lateral vascular neck restraint, which was banned by the department shortly after the incident.
Police Chief Patrick Gallagher wrote in a statement, "Words are insufficient to bring comfort to Antonio Valenzuela's family, but I extend my sincere condolences for their loss.”