ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Protesters rallied in Allentown Monday evening, demanding change and accountability after a viral video shows a police officer kneeling on a man’s head and neck. The protest is in response after a video surfaced that looked all too familiar.
Residents are saying enough is enough and the gathering has been formed to make their point known even more.
The controversial video has been picked up by media outlets all across the country. In response, the Allentown Police Department released surveillance video that captured the minutes before and after a passerby started rolling.
In the heart of Allentown, a demonstration took place over police handling of the incident this past weekend.
Passing cars honked their horns in support of the protesters that started at 7th and Hamilton Streets and made a stop at the county jail.
Speeches and chants demanding the city reveal more footage, video angles and police body camera footage in the interest of full transparency.
“We have an organized protest against police brutality, against the excessive use of force seen here in Allentown and against the entire system,” said Justan Parker, founder of Black Lives Matter to Lehigh Valley.
City officials, including the mayor and police department leadership, would not take questions on Monday.
A 26-second video showing a police officer kneeling on a man’s neck and head has sparked outrage. Police say he yelled and spit and was non-compliant.
The dispute happened outside an Allentown emergency room Saturday night and has led to calls for the officers involved to be taken off the street until an internal investigation is concluded.
“I think the people need to make sure there’s an impartial investigation so that they have full faith in the process and they can actually trust their police department and trust that justice is done,” Allentown City Councilmember Joshua Siegel said.
The unidentified man was apparently taken inside the hospital, treated and then released. Police say he was never arrested.
In extended surveillance video released by Allentown police, the man is seen on July 11 acting erratically outside of St. Luke’s, evening throwing up at times.
When officers approach, a struggle ensues and the man is taken to the ground. The officer’s knee is seen on the man’s neck area for approximately eight seconds. He is then escorted into the hospital wearing a breathable mask intended to stop a person from spitting at officers or others.
Meanwhile, Joe Giacalone, an adjunct professor at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says the video is clear and departments across the country need better training protocols.
“This is something that every police officer needs to be aware of, that when they’re struggling with a subject, amongst a myriad of other things that they have to think about, they have to be concerned about where their knee is at this point in time in the way we’re dealing with arresting people,” Giacalone said.
Allentown policy forbids the restraining of a person’s neck unless the officer feels their life is at risk.
There are multiple investigations taking place at this point. Click here to watch the full nine-minute surveillance video released by police.
CBS3’s Joe Holden and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.