Man dies after being put in chokehold by police officer; incident captured on video

NEW YORK — Confronted by police trying to arrest him for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes, Eric Garner raised both hands in the air and, with passive defiance, told the officers not to touch him.

Seconds later, a video shows the officer behind him grab the 350-pound man in a chokehold and pull him to the sidewalk, rolling him onto his stomach.

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Garner said repeatedly, his cries muffled into the pavement.Man dies after being put in chokehold by police officer; incident captured on video

The video of the Thursday skirmish shows the Staten Island man lying on the ground motionless after the incident. An asthmatic, Garner was later declared dead at a nearby hospital, according to CNN affiliate WCBS. Police said he suffered a heart attack and died en route to the hospital.

“This is a terrible tragedy that occurred yesterday. A terrible tragedy that no family should have to experience,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling the video of the incident “very troubling.”

Police told WCBS that 43-year-old Garner, a father of six, had a lengthy criminal history and had been previously arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes in May.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is seen on video choking Garner, was put on modified assignment and stripped of his shield and gun as the New York Police Department continues to investigate the incident, WCBS reported. The chokehold tactic is prohibited by the NYPD.

In a statement, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch called Pantaleo’s reassignment “a completely unwarranted, kneejerk reaction for political reasons.” He said the move “effectively pre-judges this case and denies the officer the very benefit of a doubt that has long been part of the social contract that allows police officers to face the risks of this difficult and complex job.”

On Saturday, Garner’s friends and family rallied alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton in Upper Manhattan, demanding a full investigation into Garner’s death, according to WCBS.

Garner’s wife was set to speak at the rally but found herself too emotional, WCBS reported.

New York photographer Joel Graham was at Saturday’s demonstration, which lasted for two hours. He shared his photographs with CNN iReport, and says he captured them while walking alongside protesters who traveled from New Brighton Church to the store where the chokehold incident took place.

“This crowd was composed of good, well-meaning people who understood that peace was the only option and were adamant that things remain calm over Eric’s death. I have been to protests that have been violent, but this crowd reflected who Eric was,” he said.

Graham, an area resident, had a familiar relationship with Garner. “I am an urban art photographer, and I will talk to everyone on the streets of New York City,” he said, explaining that he would occasionally chat with Garner while taking photos near the Staten Island Ferry.

“I had empathy for Eric and how he must have felt trying to catch his breath, and sympathy for the family. This was a heartfelt emotional protest because everyone loved Eric,” he said.

Trademark and Copyright 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


Filed in: News

22 comments

    • greatclits

      dead on comment, this criminal over weight filth, has learned his lesson finally, now NY can live and breath a little easier as a all you can eat, walking-talking bowel movement is no more. When you live your life as a criminal expect to die that way, i have no sympathy for criminals, may they all die at the hand of the men in blue, i pay my taxes to insure this is in place 24/7, so to all officers, today remove some filth and remove forever if possible

      • The Misses

        You stupid piece of shit , this was beyond wrong. It doesn’t matter if he was a criminal or not . He didn’t deserve too die for it . And if we’re talking about filth … in this world. . I hope you die in your sleep . Then a good majority of it would be gone . And a precious deed will be done . You dont deserve too breath the same air as me !

      • Word.

        What did the man do? Roll some cigarettes and sell them? How about if we start killing old ladies for selling tax-free baked goods? You have the nerve to use the word “filth” when talking about another human being? I pray that you receive more mercy in your life, than you are showing here.

  • l337g33k

    The dude is 350 lbs… Control the head, the body follows. Not too many other ways to bring down a man of that size without using other means. I’m sure if they took a baton to him, or tazed him, or whatever else; that would also be scrutinized. That definitely wasn’t a “choke hold.” If he’s able to say, “I can’t breathe” then he’s not being properly “choked.” He died because he’s 350 lbs out of shape and had a short period of physical exertion which induced a heart attack. Nothing more than race baiting knee jerk reaction. Why do cops even try anymore?

  • shenan barber

    GOV don’t get their cut they kill u Im pretty sure not paying taxes doesn’t warrant death.

  • sally jane

    They do this to white people to ….so Al Sharpton GO HOME,don’t make it something that it’s not !!!!!!!!!

  • Joanne

    A policeman violates his own department’s rules of conduct with a man who is not resisting arrest and it’s political? Seriously!?! This is such a transparently stupid excuse, it just makes the police look more corrupt.

  • Fumb Ducks

    Wow, Mayor de Blasio what a typical liberal spineless hack. No defending his officers, no leader at all really. Only the weak, mindless bleeding hearts see the video and get “disturbed”. I am more disturbed by the fact that people can watch on video a HUGE guy resist a lawful arrest he happens to die during the physical arrest (which article alludes was due to previous medical problems) then people get angry at the police for doing their job.These are the same people that would strangely be equally irate if there was a video of cops choosing not to do any thing about the offense of untaxed cigarette sales. Stupid lazy pig statements would abound. Whats also bizarre is how people on hear (Al Sharpton types) cling to ohh the officer broke a department rule it must have be excessive use of force then must be corrupt. No it was a department policy has nothing to do with the law. This was an appropriate use of force on a large, tall man easily 300+ Ibs who was passively resisting. I can find an equal amount of videos online where a suspect is passively resisting and switches to combative aggressive resisting in the blink of an eye. The courts do not expect officers to wait patiently while the suspects decides to submit to arrest on their own accord. No that’s not how it works. So now you have Al Sharpton clearly saying at the news conference that it has nothing to do with the man breaking the law and everything to do with a cop breaking a departmental rule ie. using a choke hold. Barking moonbat crazy much? Did we hear that correctly? Forget the man broke the law – this cop should pay for breaking a rule. To them that is justice, wow. This sounds like the Obama administration and how they are indicting their immigration/border patrol officers while the ILLEGAL immigrants are not being prosecuted or enforced in fact they are encouraged to come here and break the law. Agents of the government being told not to the job taxpayers expect them to and being overly scrutinized and punished some by lawsuit if they do. Now that’s disturbing.

    • Fumb Ducks

      Dewey, no that was your Mom. I regret it everyday scarred for life. I think you might have been in the other room sorry if you heard everything. Love, Fumbduck.

    • Word.

      Actually, you’ll probably find that most people couldn’t care less if someone is selling illegal cigarettes… most people would see that it’s not a death-penalty offense. Most people, in fact, think that people should mind their own stinking business. How’s that?

  • Fumb Ducks

    Not that it matters to the simpletons and narrow minds that have already made up their minds but look at the still shot above and the video I don’t even see clear evidence it was a “choke hold”. It looks like the officer has his left arm over the guys left shoulder resting on his chest near the neck. He is then brought to the ground. You would need to be riding on that guys back to “choke him”. He later dies so it must be the fault of the officer. No. I’ll bet an autopsy reveals he didn’t die from being “choked” but it won’t matter to the nutjobs who want their warped view of justice.

  • Barbra Walters

    Shot dem white devils! I just cants believes my eyes. Hows in the world can these white devils gets away with this. Shot and theys even got Obama in office tellin us he be black. I found out he be only half black. Hes as black as George Zimmerman is white. White evil devils.

  • JT

    Wow, just…wow. Law enforcement murders someone using a choke hold that has been illegal for them to use since the 80’s, and the people who post here defend the indefensible through racist comments and general stupidity. Congratulations–I have officially NEVER seen people so stupid.

    • Fumb Ducks

      Oh wow are you off your meds. Murder? Bwaaahaaahaaa! Where’d you dream that up? Do you know what constitutes murder? Choke hold ILLEGAL? Do you know what illegal means? Many of us has said it does not look like a choke hold any way. I can see how you know what stupid looks like though.

      • JT

        Yes, brainiac, choke holds have been illegal for law enforcement to use since the 1980’s–they cannot use those as a form of restraint because they KILL PEOPLE when they do. And I’m sure a bunch of racist Cleatuses on this site “don’t think it looks like a choke hold.” But I wouldn’t give you air in a jug for what you “think” (and we’ll use that term very loosely here). Sure I know what stupid looks like–I hacked my way through your nearly incoherent post. Really, look into grammar/usage–I’ve seen 3rd graders who write (and think) better.

  • Fumb Ducks

    Why is the post from THE MISSES still up there. Has a hissy fit resorting to curse words when someone has a different opinion. “This was beyond wrong”? What the man resisting arrest, I agree. “Doesn’t deserve to die for it”? Does any one deserve to die when they have a heart attack. I suppose you think cops should be required to check pulse and blood pressure if its too high well heck we can’t try to arrest him he might die on us. Ask them to take an aspirin first? We keep hearing what the cops have done were wrong try for a minute to think unbiased and tell us how they could have effected the arrest differently. Jedi mind tricks? Asking nicely, pretty please? Shooting his big toe with the taser? No many are putting themselves in the shoes of the officers who were doing there job. The fact that charge was petty should make no difference. The attitude on here is that if someone dies during a police encounter it automatically becomes: criminal is forgiven – cop is damned. Wrong becomes Right. No responsibility for the criminals actions. How backassward is that?

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