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Garner Case Testimony: Officer Likely Used Banned Chokehold

Disciplinary trial begins in New York
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2019 5:47 PM CDT
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, speaks last week during a news conference in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
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(Newser) – Two New York police officials who investigated the July 2014 death of Eric Garner testified Monday that Officer Daniel Pantaleo likely violated department rules on the use of a chokehold. Garner was the unarmed black man whose pleas of "I can't breathe" became a rallying cry against police brutality. Monday was the first day of a disciplinary trial for Pantaleo, the AP reports, who has been assigned to desk duty since Garner's death. The U.S. Justice Department also is investigating, and has until July to file any charges in a civil rights case.

Garner's mother and sister left the courtroom in tears as a video was played showing the arrest that led to his death. Pantaleo's lawyer said it's a misconception that "I can't breathe" was uttered when the officer's hands were around Garner's neck. He says it happened when officers were trying to handcuff Garner. "We know he wasn't choked out because he is speaking," the lawyer said. The officer feared Garner was trying to push him toward a plate glass window, his lawyer said. The hearing is expected to last two weeks.

(Read more Eric Garner stories.)

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