New York Man’s Death By Police Chokehold Ruled A Homicide
A chokehold used by a white police officer on a black New York City asthmatic man during his arrest for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes last month caused his death, the medical examiner announced Friday, ruling it a homicide, according to the Associated Press.
43-year-old Eric Garner’s incident with the police caused an outcry, including calls by the Rev. Al Sharpton for federal prosecution.
Medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said Garner was killed by “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by the police.
Asthma, heart disease and obesity were contributing factors, she said.
The AP reports:
Chokeholds are prohibited by the New York Police Department. The case is being investigated by prosecutors on Staten Island, though Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department is “closely monitoring” the investigation.
The NYPD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the medical examiner’s ruling. The officer who put Garner in the chokehold was stripped of his gun and badge pending the investigation, and another was placed on desk duty. Two paramedics and two EMTs were suspended without pay.
Police Commissioner William Bratton has said the officer appeared to have placed Garner in a chokehold and has ordered a top-to-bottom redesigning of use-of-force training in the NYPD.
In provocative comments Thursday, Sharpton called for the officers to be charged criminally. Sharpton believes chokeholds are used disproportionately on minorities.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year NYPD veteran, and an officer who has been with the force for four years were both taken off the street after Garner’s death.
In the disturbing video which surfaced, Garner can be heard repeatedly screaming, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!,” after at least five officers took him down in front of a beauty supply store.
H/T: My BFF @ComgenKDT with thanks.