August 1, 2014 7:30 pm -

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.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

11 responses to New York Man’s Death By Police Chokehold Ruled A Homicide

  1. John Tarter August 1st, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    We need to look at the real culprits here and they are those people in government who have the insatiable desire to levy taxes on things beyond all proportion to pay for the things they want to do in society. If the cigarette tax had been lower this man wouldn’t have been out there selling cut rate cigarettes and thus would not have been accosted by the.police in the first place.

    • Carla Akins August 1st, 2014 at 8:07 pm


      • Anomaly 100 August 1st, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        Apparently he’s never met the NYPD.

        • Eric Trommater August 1st, 2014 at 9:59 pm

          Appartently he’s never met a New Yorker.

          • Anomaly 100 August 1st, 2014 at 11:07 pm

            For realsies!

    • Eric Trommater August 1st, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Actually he paid the tax when he bought the ciggerettes. He was selling loosies, single ciggerettes out of a pack for people who can’t afford a whole pack. They werem’t cut rate they just weren’t packaged correctly. Also New York’s ciggerette tax is meant as a disincentive to buy ciggerettes, not a revenue maker.
      That said, enforcing things like loosie laws and bans on outdoor grilling has become quite a dangerous enterprise for the NYPD, one that they seem to be incapable of performing without resorting to extreme violence. Perhaps they need to roll back the attempt at forced gentrification of every corner of the city for a bit until they learn a lighter touch.

    • Tommy6860 August 1st, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      And if we’d lower taxes even more, we have fewer black helicopters too 😛

  2. Cassie August 1st, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    This was the correct ruling. It isn’t justice but it was at least ruled what it was.

  3. Eric Trommater August 1st, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    If there hadn’t been a video this would have been totally swept under the rug and this father of 6 would have been villianized for what ever fake crime the police decided to put enough evidence on his dead body to justify killing him.

  4. raincheck1956 August 2nd, 2014 at 4:51 am

    I still can’t get over the fact that they were arresting him for selling loose cigarettes… it’s just an excuse… meanwhile in other parts of the city.. real crimes are being committed!

    • mea_mark August 2nd, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Authority loves diversion, look over there while I really do what I want over here.