As the video below unmistakably shows, Eric Garner was killed by the cops.
His crime? Allegedly selling cigarettes not approved and taxed by the state. Garner was knocked to the ground and a white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, strangled him to death. The suffocation was exacerbated by the fact Garner suffered from asthma.
With Ferguson fresh in their minds, Police Commissioner William Bratton met with elected officials and clergy members on Staten Island Monday to talk about possible reaction to a grand jury decision (scheduled to be released any day) in the Eric Garner case. NY1’s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Bratton Meets Officials on SI Ahead of Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision
The agenda, according to Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, was “how we’re going to deal with the emotions coming in this next week.” That’s because a special grand jury could soon announce whether or not it’ll hand up an indictment against police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner.
Pantaleo is seen on video putting Garner in a chokehold as officers tried to arrest him this summer for illegally selling cigarettes.
Garner’s death happened less than a month before Michael Brown’s, and the case has stirred some of the same strong emotions.
“There certainly will be increased police presence in the area, especially around the vicinity of where they anticipate demonstrations to be taking place, and that is something that I believe the NYPD is taking very seriously,” said Assembly woman Nicole Malliotakis, whose district covers parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn.
A rally for Garner this summer drew thousands of protesters. While some businesses along the march route decided to close their doors that day, the demonstration was largely uneventful.
“The businesses that remained open actually got business, a lot of business, and it was just a peaceful demonstration. We’re expecting the same thing,” said City Councilwoman Debi Rose of Staten Island.
“Here on Staten Island, Eric Garner had a lot of friends, especially in that area, and he’s very, very well missed by a lot of people who’s anxiously waiting the decision,” said Cynthia Davis of the National Action Network. “So I even think maybe some agitators may try to worm their way in and try to cause problems, but we’re just praying and hoping that that doesn’t happen.”
The National Action Network said it isn’t planning a march or protest on Staten Island after a decision is announced. Instead, the group says it plans to march over the Brooklyn Bridge to federal court in Brooklyn.
“We’re praying that federal prosecutors take over the case,” Davis said.
“The tone and tenor that has been set by his mother Gwen and by all of the family is that they do not want to see violence, and we’ve tried to echo that message throughout the city,” said the Rev. Victor Brown of the Mt. Sinai United Christian Church.
On July 17, 2014, in Staten Island, New York, United States, Eric Garner died of neck compression, combined with asphyxia proximate to chest restriction, as a result of a chokehold applied while police officers were arresting him for the suspected sale of untaxed cigarettes. Garner previously had been arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. When a police officer attempted to arrest Garner, he had broken up a fight which brought additional police units to the scene. He was approached by police officer Justin Damico. A New York City Police Department officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put Garner on the ground by the use of force, which included the use of aheadlock, backed by video evidence of the event. Garner died some minutes later. NYPD Union leader Patrick Lynch challenged that chokehold claim.
On August 1, 2014, medical examiners concluded that police brutality as the primary causes of Garner’s death and Garner’s heart problems, obesity and asthma as additional factors. As a result of Garner’s death, four EMTs and paramedics who responded to Garner’s death were suspended without pay on July 21, 2014, and officers Justin Damico and Daniel Pantaleo were placed on desk duty, the latter stripped of his service gun and badge.
The event stirred public protests and rallies with charges of police brutality and was broadcast nationally over various media networks.
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