By Michael R. Sisak, Associated Press
A New York City police officer who’s been arrested twice for alleged brutality was arrested again Sunday after police on Long Island say he fired a pistol into the Atlantic Ocean while off duty.
David Afanador, 39, was carrying a loaded 9mm Beretta pistol and three loaded 15-round capacity magazines when officers investigating a report of shots fired in Long Beach saw him walking off the beach with three other people around 6:50 a.m. Sunday, police said.
Afanador was charged last year with putting a black man in a banned chokehold while responding to a call at a Queens boardwalk. The NYPD suspended him without pay after that arrest and then placed him on restricted assignment. He was not authorized to carry firearms, police said.
An NYPD spokesperson, Sgt. Edward Riley, said Afanador has again been suspended without pay.
Afanador was arraigned Monday by video in Long Beach City Court on charges of criminal possession of a weapon and prohibited use of a weapon. He was also cited for possession of alcohol, which is banned at Ocean Beach Park, for carrying an open can of Truly Hard Seltzer, police said. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 2.
A woman stopped with Afanador was also accused of firing the pistol into the ocean. She is charged with criminal possession of a weapon and prohibited use of a weapon, police said.
A message seeking comment was left with Afanador’s lawyer.
Afanador, who’s been with the NYPD for more than 16 years, pleaded not guilty last June to strangulation and attempted aggravated strangulation charges after cellphone video showed him putting his arm around a man’s neck on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk.
The man, 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, appeared to lose consciousness. Bellevue was arrested in an unrelated incident in the Bronx a few weeks later after police say he flashed a box cutter and made anti-gay statements in an attempted robbery.
Chokeholds have been prohibited by the NYPD for years and were banned statewide last year. Afanador is scheduled for a court appearance in that case on Wednesday.
In 2016, Afanador was acquitted on charges he pistol-whipped a 16-year-old boy during a marijuana bust, breaking two of his teeth. The beating, seen on video, continued until the boy dropped to the ground and was handcuffed.