A substitute teacher in is under fire after allegedly placing an elementary school student in a dangerous chokehold after he wouldn't leave a dodgeball game.
Daniel Sanabria, 58, was working at Daniel Webster Elementary School -- a highly-regarded magnet school -- when he apparently told the 10-year-old student to leave the game, CBS station WCBS-TV reported. The child refused.
Witnesses told police the teacher escalated the situation by taunting the 10-year-old, calling him a "crybaby."
Police say that's when the boy tried to punch the teacher, who responded aggressively.
"[Sanabria] apparently grabbed the student, pushed him into a wall, threw him to the ground and put him into some sort of arm and headlock and lifted him up off the ground," said New Rochelle Police Capt. Joseph Schaller.
Yvonne Foster knows the boy at the center of the case and couldn't understand why the teacher would become violent.
"Just yelling at him would have gotten his attention rather than being physical with him," she told WCBS-TV. "It's just disgusting, why would someone hurt a child?"
Sanabria is claiming he acted in self-defense, but after talking to witnesses, police decided his claim didn't hold up and charged him with third-degree assault and child endangerment, both misdemeanors.
No one came to the door at Sanabria's home, but people who know him can't believe he's been charged with assaulting a child.
"It's surprised me, that's all I can say," said New Rochelle resident Dorritt Newell.
Debbie Ackerman, who lives near Sanabria, said the suspect was always very good with her children.
"He drove my kids to school many times. He's only been a really nice guy, a really nice neighbor," she said.
In addition to substitute teaching, Sanabria has worked as a tech on films including "Jungle Fever" and "Malcolm X."
The child, whose identity was not released, was treated at a local hospital for shortness of breath. Police say he also had bruise marks on his arm.
Click to view image: 'Dodgeball'
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