On Thursday, July 17, Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD officers in Staten Island after breaking up a fight, and being accused of selling cigarettes.
Garner, a father of six was known around his neighborhood as a “Gentle Giant” stand at 6 ft 3 and well over 300 lbs. He was approached by some NYPD officers for trying to allegedly sell cigarettes after breaking up a fight. Garner barked at the officer and pleaded with him to leave him alone and that he wasn’t selling cigarettes. A pedestrian recorded the entire situation on his phone as it unfolded. The video is truly reminiscent of the scene in the Spike Lee movie ‘Do The Right Thang” where the NYPD officers choke Radio Raheem to death after the huge brawl at Sal’s pizzeria.
Every time you see me, you wanna mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. I’m done. I didn’t even do nothing. Everybody standing here. I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Every time you see me, you wanna harass me and stop me, talking about I’m selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer. I’m minding my business. Just please, leave me alone. I told you the last time. Please leave me alone.
Once Garner got a little too loud asking the officer to let him go about his business, the other officers surrounded Garner and took him down to the ground. They choked him to restrain him while another officer put their knee on his head to keep him on the floor. As the restraining continued Garner screamed at least eight times that he couldn’t breathe but the officers continued to hold the 43 year old father on the ground with no mercy.
Daniel Pantaleo, the officer responsible for putting Eric into the illegal chokehold, has been stripped of his gun and badge and has been placed on desk duty while the NYPD’s internal affairs office investigates and will continue to be paid.
Reverend Al Sharpton, Eric’s wife and his mother held a conference on Saturday and vowed to keep fighting until there’s justice for Eric.
“I talked to the mayor and the police commissioner and we are not going to stop until we can get justice for this man,” Mr. Sharpton said. Mr. Garner’s wife joined Mr. Sharpton but had to be escorted off the stage after she broke down in tears.
Eric had asthma, so already some reports are saying he may have died from the asthma attack and not the chokehold, which is frustrating to hear because obviously the asthma attack had to be caused by something right? Garner clearly told them he could not breathe several times during the arrest and they did nothing but continue to restrain him and hold him down as if he assaulted one of the officers.
It is unclear if the chokehold contributed to the death on Thursday afternoon of Mr. Garner, who was at least 6 feet 3 inches tall and who, friends said, had several health issues: diabetes, sleep apnea, and asthma so severe that he had to quit his job as a horticulturist for the city’s parks department. He wheezed when he talked and could not walk a block without resting, they said.
Nonetheless, the use of a chokehold in subduing a large but unarmed man during a low-level arrest raises for Mr. Bratton the same questions about police training and tactics that he faced 20 years ago, in his first stint as New York City’s police commissioner.
Eric Garner is survived by six kids, including a 3-month-old baby. Below is more unseen footage of this unfortunate situation of Garner on the floor lifeless, while the NYPD attempt to get Garner medical help.