NM Officer Heard Saying ‘I’m Going To...Choke You Out’ Before Suspect Dies

Sarah Shaiman

The APD has banned the chokehold used during Valenzuela's death.

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.”

Read more here.

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