DA says Allentown cop’s use of force was justified

Officer seen on video pressing knee into on man’s head

KYW Staff
July 17, 2020 - 5:23 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Authorities say an Allentown police officer’s use of force was justified when he pressed his knee into a man’s head while restraining him outside a hospital.

The incident, which was caught on video and shared online on July 11, quickly generated allegations of police brutality.

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After reviewing the case, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin determined that the officer and a second police officer used reasonable force to restrain 37-year-old Edward Borrero Jr.

Martin said Borrero was agitated, intoxicated and posed a danger to himself and others.

In the soundless, nearly 10-minute surveillance video, Borrero is seen staggering on the street and sidewalk, vomiting several times, and stopping in front of the emergency room entrance of St. Luke’s Hospital-Sacred Heart.

“Mr. Borrero began pointing aggressively toward a St. Luke's security officer who was walking toward him with a vomit bag,” Martin said. He said officers on the scene “concluded that his actions were aggressive,” and “they intended to place him into detention so that he could be taken into the hospital.”

The viral video shows the unnamed officer putting his knee on Borrero’s head twice while he was being restrained.

Protesters marched in downtown Allentown in the wake of the incident, demanding the officer be fired and face criminal charges.

“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 statement.

Martin noted that the officer put his knee on Borrero's head, not his neck, to safely prevent him from moving his body while being handcuffed. And, he said the officer briefly put his knee back on Borrero’s head because he was spitting at the officers.

The officers will not face any other discipline, Police Chief Glenn Granitz Jr. said in another statement.

“The individual stumbled into the street, and based on a duty of care, officers took action to remove the individual from danger and provide him with medical assistance,” said Granitz.

Borrero was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.