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43-year old Eric Garner was a married father of six with two grandchildren. He died Thursday, July 17, after being put in a chokehold and held down by at least five NYPD officers.
According to the New York Daily News, cops approached Garner after they say he was seen selling untaxed cigarettes on a Staten Island street. Garner denied the accusation and was backed up by witness Ramsey Orta, who filmed the incident.
“I didn’t do sh*t!” Garner told the officers from the 120th Precinct when they approached him. “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!”
Orta says Garner had just broken up a fight between three men prior to police arriving on the scene and was not selling cigarettes.
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told The News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”
Cops soon swarmed Garner, putting him in a choke hold and forcing him to the ground. The 400-pound man tells them "I can't breathe" nine times. He was not armed at the time.
Garner later died at the hospital. His wife, Esaw, told the New York Daily News that the NYPD killed her husband for no reason.
“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” she said.. “I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, ‘Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.’ But he was already gone, They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight. They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him,”
Eric Garner's family (L-R) son Eric, 18, daughter, Erica, 24, daughter Emerald, 22, wife Esaw, mother Gwen Carr and son Emery, 14.
NYPD Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into the incident. Watch the video below and let us know your opinion.
Story and photo source: New York Daily News and Sam Costanza
**UPDATE** July 20
Outrage is mounting over the death of Eric Garner on Thursday, July 17 The 43-year old man died after being put in a chokehold that is outlawed in New York City. by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Other cops on the scene hold Garner down while he repeatedly says, "I can't breathe."
NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo
Pantaleo was stripped of his badge and gun and placed on modified duty Saturday, pending the outcome of the dual probes by the district attorney and Internal Affairs. He is an eight-year veteran.
Reverend Al Sharpton matched with demonstrators outside of the Staten Island precinct on Saturday. A memorial was set up at the scene of Garner's death.
While lying motionless on the concrete Garner didn't receive any medical attention from officers or EMT's who arrived on the scene for seven minutes, according to the New York Daily News. He was eventually transported to the hospital, where he was declared dead. Authorities believe Garner suffered a heart attack, but the city’s medical examiner would not confirm preliminary findings. Garner had been accused of selling cigarettes.
"The issue is not whether one was selling cigarettes. The issue was how an unarmed man was subjected to a chokehold, and the result is he is no longer with us," Sharpton said.
Reverend Al Sharpton consoles Eric Garner's wife, Esaw, at the National Action Network in Harlem
"It is too early to jump to any conclusions about this case--we must wait for all the facts and details of the incident to emerge," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
NBC New York news report
Unseen Video Of Eric Garner Death - Over 7 minutes handcuffed not breathing NYPD chokehold AFTERMATH
Protesters rally for Eric Garner