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Home » Tompkins County » Ithaca » Ithaca shelter worker used chokehold on person; now staffer is on leave

Ithaca shelter worker used chokehold on person; now staffer is on leave

An employee at Tompkins County’s only homeless shelter in Ithaca has been placed on administrative leave following an incident involving a chokehold on a 63-year-old shelter resident, Carmen DeChellis.

The incident, captured on cell phone and reported by The Ithaca Voice, has sparked concern among local advocates and former shelter workers. They criticize the shelter staff’s behavior, highlighting a growing issue of unsafe conditions for the vulnerable population it serves.


The footage shows the shelter employee pinning DeChellis against stairs, threatening physical harm. This response, deemed inappropriate by George Liacopoulos of St. John’s Community Services, contradicts shelter protocols for de-escalation. Advocates and former workers express concern over the shelter’s changing policies and enforcement, contributing to an increasingly tense environment between staff and clients.

This incident underscores broader issues within the shelter, including reports of clients being mistreated and an environment becoming increasingly inhospitable to its residents.

FULL STORY: An Ithaca shelter employee used a chokehold on a homeless man. Advocates say it’s part of a bigger problem.