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Police sources: Man acting erratically on subway dies after passenger restrained him in chokehold


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    NEW YORK (WCBS) — The NYPD is investigating a deadly confrontation in the subway system.

Sources say a former Marine restrained another passenger who was acting erratically.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman obtained video from the incident. A warning: Some may find the images may be disturbing.

The video shows a 24-year-old subway rider putting a 30-year-old man in a chokehold. He holds the 30-year-old around the neck for two minutes and 55 seconds of the video.

At some points, two other riders try to restrain the 30-year-old’s arms before all three let him go, lifeless on the floor.

This happened Monday afternoon on the F train at the East Houston and Lafayette Street station in SoHo.

Police sources say the 30-year-old man in the video had been acting erratically on the subway car, allegedly throwing trash and yelling at passengers.

The 24-year-old man, who’s a former Marine, apparently stepped in to try to quell him. Things turned physical and sources say the Marine put him in a chokehold while telling those around to call 911.

When police eventually got there, they brought the 30-year-old to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sources say police took the 24-year-old Marine into custody for questioning but released him without any charges.

The NYPD is still investigating and waiting for the medical examiner to determine the official cause of death.

“You can only assert as much force as necessary in that particular situation, so was force even necessary? I don’t know. We have to see what the investigation unfolds,” criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor David Schwartz said.

Schwartz said self-defense may be a tough legal argument in this situation.

“Was there another way to subdue this person besides getting him into a chokehold?” he said.

Whatever happened before the video starts could determine which way the case goes, he added.

“Was this person just causing havoc or were they threatening the lives of others on the subway?” Schwartz said. “I think the city of New York has created conditions as such where things like this are gonna happen.”

Police sources say the man who died has more than 40 prior arrests and an active warrant out for his arrest from a felony assault charge.

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