The New York City Police Department is investigating a newfound claim that an officer used a chokehold to detain a suspect days before Eric Garner died while in police custody.

Ronald Johns, 22, was apprehended by two officers after he allegedly evaded subway fare and walked into the 125th Street and Lexington Ave train station in Harlem through an emergency exit on July 14.


Eyewitness video shows transit police grabbing Johns and putting him against a wall. One officer appeared to kick Johns's torso with his knee multiple times before a second officer grabbed at his leg to get him on the ground.

The first officer again seemed to use his knee to subdue the suspect.

"Don't punch him," a man can be heard having said while same cop is shown to make a fist towards Johns' head, wrapping his right arm around the suspected fare evader's neck. "There ain't no reason for no punching."

The police officer's arm stayed around the man's neck for about 66 seconds before the Johns had both arms put behind his back.

"Look at all that blood, man," the man looking on said as Johns was taken away and charged with with fare evasion, resisting arrest and trespassing. Both arresting officers were reportedly on medical leave for injuries sustained during the struggle.

Chokeholds have been banned by the NYPD handbook since 1993, but the recent death of Eric Garner in Staten Island after an officer placed him in a chokehold for reportedly resisting arrest has put police training under scrutiny.

On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the department would undergo a top-to-bottom investigation into the Garner incident, as well as reevaluate and retrain police officers on arresting procedure.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

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