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Video: Asthmatic Man Dies After NYPD Officer Uses Chokehold on Him

July 18, 2014  | 

VIDEO: Asthmatic Man Dies After NYPD Officer Uses Chokehold on Him

 A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.

"I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!" Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.

Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.

"When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time," Garner’s wife, Esaw, told the Daily News.

Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

Hank @ 7/19/2014 7:03 AM

What's missing from this story?
If you can yell out-EIGHT times, I can't breathe then, most assuredly you can.
His actions, he refused police orders and said he would not be cuffed.
So, what, do the cops say, well, OK but next time you better comply?
Where does it mention his THIRTY-ONE PREVIOUS arrests?

The truth @ 7/19/2014 7:32 AM

If he would have complied when the police tried to arrest him initially there would have been no use of force at all. News flash people- actively resisting suspects will do or say anything to get the upper hand. I have had this very same thing happen and guess what... I foolishly let up slightly to allow the suspect to breathe, only to realize he said it to get an advantage and began to fight again immediately after.

As said above, if he was speaking he was breathing. Maybe his past record of multiple arrests, aggressive angry behavior, large size, and threat to police that "it stops today" had something to do with the police reaction.

But for unknown reasons, some people just believe that police like terrible hours, bad pay, and constant stress just because they want to hurt people. Think to yourself... Would you do our job? Would you want to deal with the guy in this video at his worst? Or better yet COULD you?

Ima Leprechaun @ 7/19/2014 7:38 AM

Since the video has been removed I have no way to determine anything one way of the other. All the news links have also been removed. There is no way to verify anything about this story.

Courage @ 7/19/2014 7:43 AM


Story after story we have to read your vitriol, insults, and disparaging comments directed at hardworking, honest men and women who have the courage and conviction to keep society safe for you and people like you, often with little understanding of what really transpired. The irony is that most of us in law enforcement take pride in the fact we can provide you the safety from which you can posture and criticize. So, enjoy your safe seat on the sidelines. Take copious notes of everything the police do wrong to your satisfaction. Know that while you may never understand the dedication and courage necessary to serve the community, we take pride in doing it anyway. And, should you ever have the courage to leave the safety of the sidelines, perhaps you may take the time to thank the men and women of your local police department for the sacrifices they have made that allow you to stand on the sidelines in the first place.

Hiram Legree @ 7/19/2014 9:43 AM

A colleague referred to police' "bad pay." In Los Angeles and surrounding counties the pay and benefits are exorbitant. Likewise with the CHP. Even more so because it is common to retire on a fraudulent medical retirement. The excessive pay and benefits to municipal workers is the main cause driving many California cities into bankruptcy, and pushing widespread tax burdens on the productive citizens.

rio @ 7/19/2014 12:57 PM

I ask the cops here, serious question, why never a critique (or why 98% of the time)? You'd be afforded more credibility if you did. Whether true or not, the perception is that too many people are dying at the hands of police for no apparent reason. You guys honestly question this stuff internally, why not in public?

Capt. Crunch @ 7/19/2014 12:59 PM

@Lenny, if you were the size of a water buffalo and if I had you in a chokehold and you cried out 8 times that you could not breath that would only tell me you are able to breath. Also sick people should not start fights.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/19/2014 11:25 PM

@ Lenny, the good part of the story is Mr. Garner,has no more victims and the police involved will get their jobs and assignments back. The mayor is Al Sharpens, lap puppy and he is the one who will be out of a job. As for you, I would like to see you meet someone like Mr. Garner. Have a nice day TB.

Courage @ 7/20/2014 4:58 AM

@Rio - The law enforcement community takes loss of life very seriously, never in the malicious or capricious manner purported by cop-haters like Lenny. However, the public forum is not the place to discuss and review police tactics and actions. Police tactics, both good and bad, are internally reviewed by qualified personnel and can lead to changes in policy. These are not discussions to be had in public, just as changes to any other profession are not had in the public forum.

@Lenny - Again, you show your small-minded ignorance. The irony is that when the Mr Garners of the world appear at your doorstep you, no doubt, will be the first to call the police crying for assistance. And we will gladly make you feel safe. But sadly you will unappreciatively criticize every minute of it.

Renee @ 7/23/2014 7:01 AM

Okay, I wanted to view this video, so I went to YouTube and found it. It is not how the story reads. When he was telling the officers he could not breathe, it was most certainly a labored effort. As an asthmatic person myself I know it's hard to have my hands behind my back. Add to this he was overweight, death was certain. I don't condemn the officers, nor do I condone the resisting arrest by this guy, but at some point before death, it should have been apparent he was being killed. All officers uphold every single action by fellow officers whether they're right or wrong. He'd just broke up a fight, and was simply asking the officer to let him be, that he hadn't done anything wrong. I've never been in trouble with the law and don't intend to ever be, but with asthma I'm not sure how I would comply either. To the officers that complain about how hard the job is, and how terrible the pay were not forced into this field, you chose this line of work. Suck it up, and deal with it.

Stephanie Chandler @ 7/25/2014 10:31 AM

if someone have you in a choke hold of course you're going to speak as long as you're able too, to get the person choking you to let go because you are having trouble breathing. If the man was standing there not harming anyone, after asking the cop several times to leave him alone, this wouldn't have happened. I'm sure there was more serious crimes going on in that community for the police to handle, but they rather harass the black man, cause a situation just so they can use police brutality and or use his or her authority to get rid of a black person, then there's every reason possible to justify why this happen. when will the communities feel safe around those who suppose to protect and serve again. Not all police officers are bad cops, I myself knows some officers who is loved by the community because they have the right people skills to deal with the public without having to use excessive force.

Lenny @ 8/1/2014 3:47 PM

"Choke hold by cop killed NY man, medical examiner says"

Any new comments all you use of force experts?

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