Staten Island man dies after NYPD cop puts him in chokehold — SEE THE VIDEO
A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.
“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.
Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.
“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” Garner’s wife, Esaw, told the Daily News.
She got no details from police until after she had gone to the hospital to identify his body, she said.
“I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, ‘Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.’ But he was already gone,” she said.
and people wonder why black people don’t trust or have any love for cops. they murdered this man. this black man. and for what? fucking cigarettes. yea, WE’RE the fucking problem.
So, I did some googling and my word, this case is somehow even worse than this blurb makes it seem.
First of all, the crime Garner was supposedly being picked up for was selling single cigarettes on the street. This is a misdemeanor, not a felony. I had a little trouble figuring out what class of misdemeanor it is, but even if it was a Class A, it is only punishable by six months to a year in prison. Unregulated sales of cigarettes is basically the very definition of a petty crime. Yes, it is illegal but in the long scheme of things, it is hardly something that requires violence to subdue.
Note: while I could not find the exact penalty for selling loosies, in US Smokeless Tobacco Mfg. Co v. New York (2013) and its related National Association of Tobacco Outlets Inc v. City of Providence, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that New York’s ban on flavored tobacco products which carried a fine of no more than $2000 for for multiple violations was constitutional. It stands to reason that other violations of New York’s tobacco laws would be similarly punished.
Secondly, this was not Garner’s first violation. He had in fact been picked up for selling loosies before. Because I could not find any information about him being charged with resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer, it seems safe to presume that when he was arrested before Garner went peacefully. In the video, Garner says he has been harassed by the same officers before. Therefore, it stands to reason that these officers knew that Garner did not resort to violence when confronted by cops and yet they still felt that excessive force was needed.
Now, note that I said that Garner was supposedly picked up for selling single cigarettes. That is because Ramsey Orta, the witness who recorded the video, said both on the video and during an official police testimony that he was actually confronted for breaking up a fight. Which is kinda the exact opposite of a crime.
And then we have the fact that Garner was yelling that he couldn’t breathe due to the choke hold. The fact that choke holds cut off oxygen supply is not exactly new information. In fact, the NYPD is well aware of how dangerous choke holds are, which is why they were banned in most cases back in 1985 and then in all cases in 1993. So no matter what else happened, the officers were most definitely at fault for putting Garner in a choke hold and were probably well aware of the fact considering that this policy is twenty-nine years old
And then we have the issue of excessive force. Garner was tackled to the ground by no less than FIVE police officers while another three stood back. I find it hard to believe that any person is a physical threat when they are pinned on the ground and outnumbered eight to one.
Well, perhaps its just an unavoidable tragedy. After all, how could the NYPD know that their officers would react badly? Well, in the case of at least one of these officers, rather easily. Daniel Pantaleo, one of the two officers facing disciplinary action, has a history of improper conduct regarding arrests. Particularly the arrests of black men. Just over a year ago, two black men sued Pantaleo in a civil rights case and were awarded $15,000 each after Pantaleo strip searched them over a broken taillight.
Well, at least the NYPD is behaving appropriately over this, right? After all, the officers involved are being punished! Um, no, not really. Daniel Pantaleo and Justin Damico have been put on desk duty. That’s it. They aren’t even suspended. They are basically in glorified detention. And they are the only ones currently facing repercussions over this. The three other officers who attacked Garner as well as the three who observed without stepping in are presumably still on active duty. Eight officers contributed either directly or indirectly to Garner’s death and six of them seem to be walking away without any punishment at all.
So to recap:
Eric Garner was killed
After being stopped by police officers for a petty crime
Although an eye witness testified that he was actually apprehended for breaking up a fight.
He had no history of violent behavior.
Which the arresting officers likely knew
And while he was clearly angry, he never approached them or made any move to indicate that he would react violently
And yet, he was tackled to the ground
By five officers
While another three watched without stepping in
He was placed in a choke hold
Which is illegal
He yelled multiple times that he couldn’t breathe
And yet they did not remove the choke hold
Even though he was immobilized on the ground.
And outnumbered eight to one.
And then had his head bashed into the pavement
Because he wouldn’t stop squirming
He was squirming because he couldn’t breathe
One of the officers had previously been found guilty in a civil rights suit
Because he has wrongly profiled black men before
And reacted with improper conduct when he strip searched two black men he pulled over for a broken taillight
But the NYPD allowed him to continue patrolling in predominately black neighborhoods
In response to Garner’s death, the NYPD has put two of the officers on desk duty
But has not suspended them
While the other six officers involved have faced no repercussions at all.