ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The Lehigh County District Attorney said Friday it will not file charges against two Allentown police officers seen in a viral video restraining a man outside of a hospital.
The officer and a second police officer used reasonable force to restrain the man, who was agitated, obviously intoxicated and posing a danger to himself and others, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said.
“I have concluded that there is absolutely no evidence to support filing criminal charges against either of the Allentown police officers involved in this incident,” Martin said in a news release. He said he didn’t believe disciplinary action was warranted, either.
Surveillance video of the July 11 incident, released this week by Allentown police, showed the unnamed officer putting his knee on the man’s head and neck area twice while he was being restrained a few steps from the emergency room entrance — the first time for eight seconds, the second for 20 seconds.
The man was identified as Edward Borrero Jr., 37, of Allentown. He was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Borrero, who has yet to enter a plea, could not immediately be located for comment.
Activists against police brutality marched in downtown Allentown in the wake of the incident, demanding the officer be fired and face criminal charges and asserting that police violated their own policy against neck restraints.
But Martin said the officer put his knee on Borrero’s head, not his neck, “so as to safely, efficiently and effectively keep him from moving his body to avoid being handcuffed and placed into custody.”
He said the officer briefly put his knee back on Borrero’s head because Borrero was spitting at the officers.
The videotaped incident occurred nearly seven weeks after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, for nearly eight minutes. Floyd’s death in police custody sparked global protests over police brutality and racial injustice.
“I thank District Attorney Martin and APD’s Office of Professional Standards and Use of Force Review team for their respective inquiries into the incident outside St. Luke’s Sacred Heart. Public safety is my top priority. That reaches its highest level when there is trust between the police department and the residents. As mayor of the city, I am committed to strengthening the relationship between the department and the community. I take my oath of office seriously. I remain committed to the protection of the public and to improving the lives of all our citizens," Allentown Mayor Ray O'Connell said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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