Saturday, July 19, 2014
New York Cops Kill Unarmed Man As Onlookers Watch And Record
New York Police have a public image crisis on their hands after a video goes viral on the Internet of several officers forcibly taking an unarmed, 350-pound man with health issues into custody leads to his death. Police claimed he was illegally selling cigarettes on Staten Island by hawking Lucky cigarettes for 50 cents a piece. One police officer placed the 43-year Eric Garner in a chokehold as others assisted in wrestling him to the ground. The man repeatedly tells officers he couldn't breath, but they persisted until he laid motionless. He was later declared dead after being transported to a hospital.
Two officers have been placed on desk duty pending an investigation according to the New York Daily News. One of the officers, Daniel Pantaleo, is already the subject of two lawsuits brought by African Americans in which he was accused of false arrest. One of those lawsuits has been settled for $15,000 where he was accused of forcibly stripping two men in public so they could be searched. Charges against the two men were later dropped. In another suit, Pantaleo, is accused of trumping up charges against a man in Brooklyn who was held in a jail for a day. New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio postponed his scheduled vacation to Italy to deal with the crisis.
Police Commissioner William Bratton conceded at a press conference that the video appeared to show a police officer placing Garner in a chokehold, a maneuver that was banned by the New York Police Department more than 20 years ago. According to family members, Garners suffered from asthma, sleep apnea and diabetes. He couldn't walk a block without having to sit down to take a rest they said.