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Louisiana Man, Armando Frank, Lost His Life Via a Chokehold for Asking ‘Reasonable Questions’ About Warrant  

A routine arrest proved fatal for a Louisiana man who officers wrestled off a tractor and choked while serving an outstanding warrant last year in an incident experts say constitutes police excessive force.

Footage of the incident, obtained by The Advocate, shows officers grow visibly frustrated with 44-year-old Armando Frank, who refused to hop down from a Walmart tractor when police arrived to serve a warrant for his arrest in October 2017. Frank’s arrest reportedly stemmed from minor charges picked up from a previous dispute with neighbors.

Armando Frank

Armando Frank stopped breathing after an officer strangled him during his October 2017 arrest. (Video screenshot)

The 10-minute video shows one of the officers climb atop of the tractor behind Frank and place him in a choke hold, constricting his airway, while another cop simultaneously tries pulling Frank down. After a brief struggle, Frank goes limp and cops drag his lifeless body back to their patrol car.

A pathologist ruled Frank’s cause of death as manual strangulation, according to the paper. The man’s family filed a lawsuit in last month alleging civil rights violations by excessive force, local station KALB reported. The three officers involved — Sgt. Alexander M. Daniel, Lt. Kenneth W Parnell III, and Dep. Brandon S. Spillman — are listed as defendants.

Gregory Gilbertson, director of the criminal justice program at Centralia College, noted that Frank was only trying to figure out why he was being arrested in the first place and who had signed the warrant. Rather than answer his questions, officers placed him in what’s called “a lateral vascular neck restraint,” which is typically “a last resort,” Gilberston said.

“There’s no exigent circumstance here,” he explained. “He’s not attempting to flee, he’s not assaulting anybody, he’s sitting on a tractor and he’s asking reasonable questions they are refusing to answer.”

Records show the Louisiana man, who was a veteran, had a long history of mental illness, and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia five years prior. It was following a dispute with neighbors that he received court-ordered treatment at a VA hospital, according to The Advocate. Frank was charged with simple criminal trespassing and attempted unauthorized entry into a dwelling stemming from the incident.

“He has a long history of being non-compliant, even during most of his recent incarceration,” hospital officials wrote in an August 2017 discharge note.

A criminologist weighing in on the case argued that officers had the right to use excessive and/or deadly force if needed while serving the arrest warrant. Speaking to the newspaper,  Bowling Green criminal justice professor Philip Stinson said Frank should’ve complied with officer demands.

“When a police officer says that they have a warrant for you, you need to get off the tractor and come with us, that’s not negotiable,” said Stinson, a former cop. “You cannot negotiate that, even if it turns out there wasn’t a warrant or it was an invalid warrant.”

In March, an Avoyelles Parish grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in the deadly arrest.

Watch more in the video below.

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