In the ensuing moments a gang of New York City police officers killed a man after placing him in a chokehold and pressing his face into the sidewalk while piling on top of him, ignoring his pleas that he was unable to breathe, several cops stood around the man, trying to revive him.
But Eric Garner’s body was lifeless.
A video from a witness shows several cops milling around the handcuffed man, seemingly clueless as what to do next, which is not surprising considering cops are only trained to hurt, not help.
One cop seemed to be holding his arms just in case Garner suddenly would suddenly wake up and break free from his handcuffs; a man whose criminal history involved mostly selling untaxed cigarettes.
A paramedic arrived, checked his pulse and determined he was still alive, so she started ordering him to “stand up.”
Meanwhile, the cop who placed him in the chokehold, then brought him to down, planting his face into the sidewalk stood in the background appearing unconcerned that he may had just taken someone’s life.
At one point, he even waves to the camera.
Garner, 43, an obese man with a history of medical complications, was eventually pronounced dead of a heart attack, no doubt prompted by the chokehold and the ensuing aggression.
The man described as a “gentle giant” leaves behind a wife and six children. In the moments prior to Thursday’s incident, he had broken up a fight between two men who fled before police arrived, which apparently left them no choice but to turn their authoritative demands to Garner, knowing he had a history of selling untaxed cigarettes.
“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me,” Garner tells the officers. “I’m tired of it. This stops today. It’s over.”
The incident has gained international attention and even forced New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to cancel his trip to Italy, calling the death “very troubling.”
Police, meanwhile, are trying to justify the incident, claiming that Garner had a long history of arrests, mostly nonviolent, yet refusing to release the name of the cop who placed him in a chokehold.
The use of chokeholds by NYPD cops was banned 20 years ago after another man died, but this officer seemed to be well-versed in how to apply it.
According to the New York Times:
The 350-pound man, about to be arrested on charges of illegally selling cigarettes, was arguing with the police. When an officer tried to handcuff him, the man pulled free. The officer immediately threw his arm around the man’s neck and pulled him to the ground, holding him in what appears, in a video, to be a chokehold. The man can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” over and over again as other officers swarm about.
Now, the death of the man, Eric Garner, 43, soon after the confrontation on Thursday on Staten Island, is being investigated by the police and prosecutors. At the center of the inquiry is the officer’s use of a chokehold — a dangerous maneuver that was banned by the New York Police Department more than 20 years ago but that the department cannot seem to be rid of.