Eric Garner, 43, died Thursday after police officers put him in a chokehold, before apparently slamming his head into the ground. The New York Daily News obtained exclusive video of the incident, which shows the Staten Island man begging officers to let him breath as he lies helpless on the ground; Garner was asthmatic.
According to the Huffington Post, Garner died of a heart attack during the rest, and his family are demanding accountability from the NYPD:
[box type=”shadow”]Police said Garner, who was a married father of six children, died of a heart attack during the arrest, according to The Associated Press. The NYPD said Garner had been seen selling untaxed cigarettes, and that he had been arrested before for the same offense. NYPD Kills Man With 6 Children By Chokehold for Selling Untaxed Cigarettes
In the video, Garner denied the allegations and asked a plainclothes officer why he was stopped.
“Every time you see me you want to mess with me,” Garner told cops in the video. “I’m tired of it. It stops today!”
When Garner refused to put his hands behind his back, and asked one officer not to touch him, two others moved in to make the arrest.
Video shows at least one officer putting Garner in a chokehold and slamming him on the ground.
Garner can be heard screaming “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” before going quiet.
Multiple witnesses to the death expressed anger at the NYPD.[/box]
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” 22-year-old Ramsey Orta, who took the video, told The Daily News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.’ He wasn’t OK.”
Witnesses said that Garner was “absolutely not selling cigarettes.” Those who knew Garner described him as a “gentle giant” and “a big teddy bear.” His family, including his wife, Esaw Garner, said that he suffered from chronic asthma.
An investigating into his death is ongoing, according to the AP; the NYPD said that Garner “took a fighting stance” and “absolutely resisted arrest.”
The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993, and the 2004 NYPD Patrol Guide states that members of the NYPD “will NOT use chokeholds” and defines chokeholds as not limited to “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder or reduce intake of air.”
At his Thursday night memorial, friends and family demanded justice, asking if the cop responsible was “still going to be on the force” and if the cop was “going to be able to do this to somebody else.”
Mayor Bill De Blasio has released a statement regarding Garner’s death:
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Garner, who died yesterday afternoon while being placed in police custody. We have a responsibility to keep every New Yorker safe, and that includes when individuals are in custody of the NYPD. That is a responsibility that Police Commissioner Bratton and I take very seriously. We are harnessing all resources available to the City to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the circumstances of this tragic incident. The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is working closely with the Office of the Richmond County District Attorney, which is leading this investigation.”
You can watch the footage of the attack below: