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Anger and Tears in Staten Island for Man Who Died After Apparent Chokehold

Sunday, July 20, 2014

WNYC

Four medical workers who responded to the scene where a 43-year-old Staten Island man died after an apparent chokehold by police have been barred from taking emergency calls, pending the outcome of an investigation. Two officers involved in the arrest have been assigned to desk duty. One of those officers, Daniel Pantaleo, was stripped of his gun and badge.

Meanwhile, Staten Island residents continue to gather near the Tompkinsville site. On Sunday, a steady stream of people who knew Eric Garner from neighborhood interactions or more personal bonds, shared memories near a makeshift memorial.

Herman Padillo said Garner’s kindness was rare. "Every time I’d see the man, he would say how you doing…If you need a dollar, he would give you a dollar,” said Padillo, looking upset.

NYPD officials said officers approached Garner about selling illegal cigarettes. Several witnesses said he wasn't hocking loosies, as they’re called, but rather, had been breaking up a fight before the NYPD arrived, something they said was not uncommon near Tompkinsville Park. Police Commissioner Bratton said there have been hundreds of 9-1-1 calls over the past year for service within the small park.

Residents say its more common to see men with open alcohol containers in the park than kids eating ice cream./Kathleen Horan

Frederick Winship said he witnessed the incident. He said he observed officers swarming around Garner, and later caught a glimpse of him on the gurney. “This really got to me…his eyes were open and his tongue was hanging out his mouth."

After his death, many police reform activists and others complained that the focus on quality-of-life crimes in the city had gone too far. “This tragedy is a grim reminder that aggressive over-policing of apparent low-level offenses does not work and will ultimately lead to unnecessary and tragic outcomes," said NAACP Criminal Justice Director, Dr. Niaz Kasravi, in a statement released Sunday.

A spokesperson for the city's medical examiner's office said the cause of Garner's death is still pending.

Garner's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Brooklyn.

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Comments [4]

Doug Rankin

The officer who used the chokehold best be charged for negligent homicide or manslaughter (because that is what it is), and the attending officers and medical personal fired and charged as accomplices. To allow him to escape criminal charges and jail time will leave NYPD with just about zero credibility. I'm not sure what NY laws apply, but there is a charge for what they did (by not doing their jobs and abetting the homicide/manslaughter that they witnessed/abetted.

Being a former officer, I'm blown away by this punk behavior by officers. What separates them from a criminal gang?

Jul. 21 2014 01:25 PM
Daniel from Manhattan

I think guns are part of the problem. Average police officers should not have guns, only special ops and higher up captains should have guns.
I study Social Power (a field of Social Psychology), and having a gun, even if you don't use it, gives you power, which has 2 effects:
1) It goes to your head and makes you into a tough guy and more willing to take risks and be aggressive
2) It makes everyone intimidated by you, and more likely that they'll be aggressive.
In the UK the police officers famously do not carry guns. Somehow they are not all murdered. It's time to take away the NYPD's guns.

Jul. 21 2014 11:44 AM
Mary from Manhattan

Those officers are ANIMALS.

That the Benevolent Association is defending them, given the video, is appalling -- there is no defending these men.

THROW THE BOOK AT THEM. THEY BELONG IN JAIL FOR MANY YEARS.

Jul. 21 2014 11:34 AM
John from Brooklyn

The cops "didn't know what they were doing was illegal?"

Could a citizen use that excuse to get out of a drug bust, or anything else?

That's NO EXCUSE and shouldn't even be mentioned.

Jul. 21 2014 11:21 AM

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