Prosecutor, Police Warn of Choking Game - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Prosecutor, Police Warn of Choking Game

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Update: On Oct. 22, Michael Ford was sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated battery.

 On Nov. 27, there was a hearing on a motion for a new trial.

Earlier post:

Teens call it a game, but it has serious consequences. And it is happening here. A Rock Island man faces charges for participating in The Choking Game.

It happened in Geneseo, where Detective Sean Johnson says, "To be honest, I was really shocked." He tells us cell phone video of the incident is disturbing. "The seriousness of what was occurring and the potential for something which obviously teens believe to be fun or innocent fun. There was a real potential for this to go really bad."

The Choking Game has teens choking each other or themselves to the point of passing out, doing it for a drug-free high. "They all know the game," Henry County State's Attorney Terry Patton tells us. "Once you tap out, you tap out and you're supposed to stop. So when you keep on doing it, all of a sudden it's not fun and games anymore."

He says he hasn't seen a case like this before, but that is what the cell phone video showed. "When somebody does something that really, really puts another person in risk, like choking someone until their nose bleeds and they almost pass out," Patton says, "At that point, you've got to step in."

It's why 19-year old Michael Ford is accused of aggravated battery. We were unable to reach his attorney. And we can't show you the video yet, it is evidence. But Patton says it shows something that was consensual, quickly becoming something else. "You can clearly see the victim who's being choked, tapping on the arm of the person doing the choking. And the choking kept going on and on. Long enough where it was without question, that it was too long. That it was longer than what the victim was willing to go through. It went on long enough to make it dangerous."

Detective Johnson says it happened two different times. At least once there were witnesses, who spoke up when the 15-year old victim may not have been able to. "During the video you can hear one person saying, Mike, you have to stop. Referring to Mr. Ford," Johnson says. The choking stopped. We are told the victim is fine.

But police say the danger here is something everyone needs to know about. "There's just so much potential for something to go seriously wrong here," Johnson says.

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