SPD releases body cam video which shows officer kneeling on suspect’s neck

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Police Department has released body camera footage of a March arrest in which an officer kneeled on a suspect’s neck.

The arrest happened in early March, but has come under scrutiny in recent days as a witness photo of the arrest was published online and as America mourns the death of George Floyd, who died as police kneeled on his neck.

The photo, a witness account and response from Police Chief Craig Meidl were first published in an article by the Inlander.

In a release, SPD said they are releasing the body camera video and police radio calls in order to provide context of the arrest.

“In light of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, SPD is sensitive to the fear, anger, and confusion over the pictures and narrative,” the department said.

SPD released body camera footage from four officers who responded to the incident, which happened along the Centennial Trail near the Centennial Hotel. SPD said the incident started between the suspect and a park ranger who needed assistance.

The videos show the suspect yelling “I can’t breathe.” An officer can also be heard saying, “You’re fine. You can breathe. You’re still talking.”

The department said the method used by officers is called “prone cuffing.” SPD said this is where officers apply pressure to a subject with their knee or shin to the back, shoulder and neck area; and is a commonly used and approved tactic.

“In this case it was administered for a short period of time – approximately one minute — as officers continued to talk calmly to the suspect and assure him he was okay,” the department said.

According to the release, the arrest is under investigation by SPD. The department said it is a “top priority given the current climate of unrest and protests.”

Watch the videos here:

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4