ABC News – by TINA CHEN, MARK CRUDELE and JOSH MARGOLIN
A Staten Island man who died as New York City police were trying to take him into custody appears to have suffered a heart attack, the NYPD said.
Eric Garner, who was 6-foot-3 and roughly 350 pounds, died Thursday as police struggled to arrest him, according to the NYPD.
Garner was arrested in Staten Island after he was allegedly seen selling “loosie” cigarettes, police said. Garner was known for selling individual cigarettes for 50 cents each in his Staten Island neighborhood.
Police said the cigarettes come from North Carolina and Garner is the end of the supply line. Because the Staten Island man allegedly sold cigarettes to children, the police called the cigarettes a “quality of life” issue in the neighborhood.
Garner’s death has led to outrage, especially after video obtained by the New York Daily News appeared to show that the man was put into a chokehold as he was arrested.
The chokehold is prohibited by NYPD departmental policy.
Mayor Bill De Blasio called the video of the arrest “very troubling” and delayed a planned vacation for a day after hearing about the incident. De Blasio said NYPD internal affairs and the local district attorney were investigating the incident.
The video shows officers approaching Garner, who initially denies that he’s selling loose cigarettes.
“I’m minding my business why don’t you leave me alone,” Garner can be heard saying.
Eventually when police officers move in, Garner appears to not comply and at least five officers wrestle him to the ground as they attempt to handcuff him.
As Garner is being held down, he can be heard telling police that he “can’t breathe.” Eventually when officers realize he is not responsive, they called in an ambulance, which took Garner to a hospital where he died a short time later.
The apparent violence of the arrest led to outrage and the internal investigation. On line, numerous people tweeted #JusticeforEricGarner, calling attention to the deadly incident.
Policeman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, questioned by ABC News about what constitutes an appropriate use of force, said the public should not rush to judge before the official investigation is concluded.
“At times, when officers are required to make an arrest, they must employ the use of force in order to get compliance from an individual who NYPD policy requires must be rear-cuffed for transport to a precinct,” Lynch said. “Force, by its very nature, is an ugly thing to witness. Taken out of the context of what is happening, necessary force can be misinterpreted to be excessive by those who are not trained in law enforcement procedures.”
Garner’s family has been devastated by the loss.
Garner’s wife Esaw Garner collapsed into tears as she attended a crowded memorial rally today at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
The mayor’s commissioner for human affairs attended the rally and said the mayor is committed to strengthening the relationship between police and minority communities.
“This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now and whether the change that we feel occurred has occurred,” Sharpton said. “We are the only ones in the social setup that has to deal with fear of cops and robbers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
5 thoughts on “Man in Cop Chokehold Had Heart Attack, NYPD Says”
“ ‘They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,’ she said. Garner’s family said he didn’t have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death.”
“Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video, tried to intervene, telling the cops his friend had just broken up a fight between three men and had not been selling cigarettes.”
Of course, we can expect the Black “Racial” Spin on the story. What about the other Innocents who have been killed or violated by the NYPD? I don’t care What color you are, It Ain’t Right!
Thanks Angel for getting us the real story. You are also very perceptive to point out the spin in the Huff nPuff. There were also black thug cops around Garner supporting the killers.
Did the punishment exceed the crime?
I think being choked for selling loosie cigarettes is excessive. I bet he was struggling because having a heart attack while being choked cant be very relaxing.
My guess is he had heart failure because he was being strangled.
Your Right Angel. These thugs in uniform will get theirs. I just hope someone followed these pukes home and also follow them around to see where they buy their groceries, and where they go out to eat etc.Then justice can be served in a timely manor.
They came out on a fight call not a Butt call. And now they claim it is a Butt call. What Butt they trying to cover here with a ash can after the cremation?