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Footage released of officer accused of using chokehold

November 2, 2021 GMT

DENVER (AP) — Police in suburban Denver on Tuesday released body camera footage involving an officer accused of putting a woman suspected of shoplifting in a chokehold.

A judge ordered the footage in the case of Sheridan Officer Shawn Ralph to be made public last month in response to a request from Colorado media outlets under a new law that generally requires footage to be released within 21 days of a request.

Ralph is accused of using the chokehold on Sept. 3 after the handcuffed woman spit in his eye as she was apparently aiming at a store worker, who had confronted her about the alleged theft, according to an arrest affidavit. After looking at footage from all four officers there, police said it appeared that Ralph’s left hand went toward her neck, with the web of it near her windpipe and his fingers and thumb on either side of her neck for about five seconds. His other hand eventually rests on top of his left, appearing to support it. A sergeant either knocked or pulled Ralph’s hands away from the woman’s neck, the document said.

One of the four videos released of the incident briefly shows an officer’s gloved hands near the woman’s neck before the camera moves away.

In a statement to police, Ralph said that he reached his gloved hand toward the woman’s mouth to stop her from spitting more but she pulled back, causing his hand to slip to her chin, the affidavit said.

A message left for Ralph’s lawyer, Zach Wagner, seeking comment was not returned.