Unarmed Man Dies in Police Chokehold
Staten Island dad allegedly sold untaxed cigarettes
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2014 5:00 PM CDT
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(Newser) – An unarmed Staten Island man died yesterday after police put him in a choke-hold and he shouted "I can't breathe!" at least nine times, New York reports. Eric Garner, 43, a father of six and a grandfather, can be seen in an eyewitness video standing on a street corner when police approached him. "Every time you see me, you're messing with me," said Garner, who stood six-foot-four and weighed over 300 pounds. "I'm tired of it. This stops today. ... Please just leave me alone." But officers moved in, pinning Garner down with a choke-hold and apparently slamming his head against the sidewalk, the Daily News reports. Garner, who suffered from chronic asthma, sleep apnea, and diabetes, was dead within minutes.

Police say Garner sold untaxed cigarettes, and had just been seen doing so. Garner was also due in court on three cases, including pot possession and illegal cigarette sales. But according to his wife, Esaw—and a friend of Garner's who shot the video—police really moved in because Garner had broken up a fight. Either way, Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed a full investigation (the New York Times notes that the NYPD rulebook forbids choke-holds). Meanwhile, Esaw sounds like she's still grasping what just happened. "When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time," she said. At the hospital, "I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, 'Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.' But he was already gone."

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Showing 3 of 201 comments
BillyB
Jul 20, 2014 8:07 AM CDT
After witnessing the murder of this man, I believe all those responsible for this horrible crime should be imprisoned. They should not be given paid leave, which is usually the case while an investigation is on-going. This kind of brutality should never be accepted. While in prison, I'm sure the other inmates will give these jack-asses the real justice they deserve.
sugacan2
Jul 20, 2014 12:47 AM CDT
The really sad thing is even with all of the video proof shown in several of these cases the cops continue to get away with abuse and even murder. They have no fear of punishment for wrongdoing or laxity in performing their duties...other than the loss of their job in SOME cases. Police departments across this country seem to either be hiring a bunch psychotic arseholes who think they are at war with the civilian populace or psychotic arseholes who are more criminally minded than the criminals they are supposed to be protecting us from.
Dave Davison
Jul 19, 2014 11:54 PM CDT
It appears from this article that the police had probable cause to arrest the man. However, that does not give them the right to use a choke hold to restrain him. Being a former deputy sheriff myself, there are various techniques that can be used to restrain a person resisting arrest. Choke Holds are dangerous if not forbidden one in most circumstances. Like everyone else, we will have to wait to see the results of the investigation. If criminal charges are warranted than the officers will have their day in court. They should hope that the officers that arrest them don't use excess force like choke holds.