Man Says 'I Can't Breathe' During Struggle With Police Officer in Washington

A police officer was caught on video grabbing a man by the neck as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe during an altercation in Washington on July 13.

Leezia Dhalla captured video of the incident and said the officer was “punching and choking” the man on the ground outside of a CVS Pharmacy on Vermont Avenue. It’s unclear what led up to the altercation.

The video shows the officer’s hands on the man’s neck as the man says “I can’t breathe” and struggles on the ground. Dhalla said a security guard in a white shirt “had to tell the cop to let up” his restraint on the man. Toward the end of the video, the security guard is seen gesturing to the officer multiple times, but the dialogue is muffled.

CVS told Storyful the officer was contracted to work security at CVS through a third-party company. In a statement, CVS told Storyful it was “deeply disturbed” by the video and said the officer will “never again” work security at “any” CVS store.

“This type of force appears wholly unnecessary, regardless of what happened inside. The actions of the security guard, who is not a CVS employee, violate our security policies and practices which are designed to ensure the safety of customers and employees,” CVS said in the statement. Credit: Leezia Dhalla via Storyful