© 2022 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Bridgeport Police Investigate Chokehold Arrest

Bridgeport Police Department Body Camera Arrest
Bridgeport Police Department
Bridgeport police body camera footage shows officers struggling with a suspect during a recent arrest.

The police department in Bridgeport, Connecticut, said it’s launching an internal investigation of all officers involved in an arrest where a policeman held a larceny suspect in a chokehold. Body camera footage of the incident includes audio that may be sensitive for some listeners. The state of Connecticut banned the use of chokeholds except when an officer believes they need to defend against deadly physical force. It was part of police reforms passed in July, after a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck.

Bystander video of the recent arrest in Bridgeport went viral on social media over the weekend. Then, Bridgeport police released this body camera footage on Monday. An officer tells suspect Kevin Thomas not to bite. They struggle and then an officer pulls Thomas’s neck in the crook of his elbow.

Bystanders call out to stop the chokehold: “Get off his neck! Get off his neck!"

An officer replies, "Get out of here!"

"Get off his neck! Get off his neck," the bystander says, "Y’all don’t got to do that to his neck, look at him!"

From another angle, a body camera shows officers back off as Thomas sits in the squad car.

Bridgeport Police did not include a description of the chokehold in a statement, but said pepper spray was used. Officials did not respond to an email asking if any officers under investigation have been placed on leave.

Below are four videos released by the Bridgeport Police Department, showing the arrest from different angles.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.