Two New York City police officers have been placed on desk duty after a 43-year-old man died during an arrest in which video of the struggle shows an officer placing him in what the police commissioner said appeared to be a chokehold, the Daily News reports.
You can hear Eric Garner, 43, shouting, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” as, at least five, NYPD cops wrestle him on the ground in front of a beauty supply store in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island. Earlier in the video, Garner appears to be being questioned by an officer about the illegal sale of cigarettes after, he says, he broke up a fight in the area. The scene turned ugly, however, when the officer attempted to handcuff Garner.
Garner balked and was quickly placed in a chokehold by one officer and wrestled to the ground as four more piled on. Within moments, Garner – a married father of six – stopped struggling and appeared unconscious.
“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. According to an NYPD spokesman, Garner “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died.”
Witnesses at the scene claim Garner was breaking up a fight when police arrived, with Garner’s family stating that he didn’t have any cigarettes on him or in his car at the time of his death.
“They’re covering their asses; he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,” according to Garner’s wife.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement late Friday on the death of Eric Garner.
The statement reads:
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.
How tragic. We’re praying for Mr. Garner and his family and we hope the people responsible for this tragedy are held accountable.
Watch the recorded video of the incident below.
[via News One]