Some NYPD officers may enjoy mocking the chokehold death of 43-year-old Eric Garner, others see the attack on the father of six for selling loose cigarettes as a horrible murder–including the medical examiner.
Two EMTs and two paramedics have been suspended following the attack on Garner. Officer Dan Pantaleo was reassigned following the attack, and a second unnamed officer was placed on desk duty. On Thursday, Rev. Al Sharpton called for the officers involved to be charged criminally.
Pantaleo has been accused of false arrest in two lawsuits involving African American plaintiffs in 2012. In both cases, charges against the plaintiff were dropped and in one, the city paid out $30,000 to two African American women who said they were falsely arrested on Staten Island and forced to publicly strip so police could search them.
While asthma, heart disease, and obesity were factors, medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said that Garner was killed by “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993, and the 2004 NYPD Patrol Guide clearly states that officers “will NOT use chokeholds.” The guide defines chokeholds as “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder or reduce intake of air.”