Protestors gather outside Binghamton City Hall after video shows officer on man’s neck

Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 12:56 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- Community members and family gathered outside of Binghamton City Hall Monday morning to support a young Black-Asian man, named Hamail Waddell, who went to city hall to file a report of a police-related incident that occurred on New Year’s Eve.

Attendees told 12 News a Binghamton Police Officer kneeled on Waddell’s neck outside of Dillinger’s Irish Pub on New Year’s Eve after there was a fight. A video shared with 12 News showed an officer kneeling on a person’s neck on the corner of State and Hawley streets as crowds of New Year’s Eve partygoers watched. A second video shows a man on the ground with a bystander yelling, “Get your phones out!”

Several attendees, who called themselves community activists, compared the alleged incident to former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of George Floyd in May 2020. Community activist Salka Valerio said the situation is unacceptable.

“We had this conversation in 2020, so I don’t understand why in 2023 we’re out there in front of the police station talking about the same kneel that killed George Floyd,” said Valerio.

12 News reached out to Binghamton Police Detectives for comment on the situation but have not heard back.

However, Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham addressed the incident in a statement to 12 News.

“Binghamton Police are aware of a social media post with photos and video of an arrest that took place at roughly 3:19 a.m. on Jan. 1 on State Street downtown,” said Kraham. “On Monday, the 24-year-old male filed a complaint with Binghamton Police. Like all complaints, it will be swiftly and thoroughly investigated to determine facts, including review of body camera footage.”

Kraham did not specifically mention the kneeling.

The activists are asking for the officer involved to be immediately fired and for other officers, who stood by, to be held accountable.

One of the people speaking out, Rebecca Rathnell, said they are also demanding to see the body-cam footage from the weekend.

When the protesters arrived at Binghamton City Hall, the doors were locked, and they were directly informed they keep the doors locked to keep homeless people out of the building with the claim of protecting the property from damage. Rathnell called the measure unacceptable.

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