The NYPD has taken the gun and badge away from the officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold.
He has eight years on the force.
Garner, who was black, was confronted by police trying to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk, authorities said. The 6-foot-3, 350-pound Garner became irate, denying the charges and refusing to be handcuffed before one of the officers placed him in what Bratton said appeared to be a chokehold, according to partial video of the encounter obtained by the New York Daily News.
“As defined in the departments patrol guide, this would appear to have been a chokehold. But the investigation both by the district attorney’s office and our internal affairs will seek to make that final determination as part of our investigation,” said Bratton. He said the two officers involved have been moved to desk duty while the investigation continues.
The tactic, which can be fatal, is prohibited by departmental policy.
In the video, Garner, who has been arrested for selling illegal cigarettes numerous times in recent years, says he hasn’t done anything wrong.
“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today,” Garner shouts. “I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone.”
As four officers bring him down, Garner is heard gasping, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” The video shows one officer using his hands to push Garner’s face into the sidewalk.
Garner’s family, along with Sharpton and his National Action Network, claim Garner repeatedly said he could not breathe while officers used excessive force to hold him down. Then he fell unconscious. Garner went into cardiac arrest and was transported by EMS to Richmond University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Prosecutors and internal affairs detectives are investigating the death of the father of six and grandfather of two; authorities believe he suffered a heart attack. De Blasio has called the circumstances of his death “very troubling.”
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.” Read more here