A video of the arrest appears to show an officer's arm near Eric Garner's neck as he is taken to the ground. (Garner was allegedly being arrested for supposedly selling untaxed cigarettes so why was it so important to take him to the ground?) Garner apparently shouted, "I can't breathe!" (Of course, in the officer's defense, it is possible that this could be because he was smoking these darn cigarettes.) Several members of the fire department may also be under scrutiny because they may not have taken quick enough action to attempt to save Garner's life. The video above is troublesome because it appears several officers did not recognize the need for prompt life saving efforts. A spokeswoman for the Richmond County Medical Center, did not immediately respond to questions about possible inaction by medics.
Prosecutors and internal affairs detectives are looking into the appropriateness of the officer, Daniel Pantaleo's conduct. Choke-holds are apparently banned under NYPD department policy; however, sometimes such maneuvers are the only practical way to neutralize a suspect. While the investigation continues, Officer Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran of the force, has been separated from his badge and gun. Past history may not help this officer. In the recent past, apparently three men filed suit against Pantaleo in federal court over allegedly unlawful, racially motivated arrests. Yet each case must always be addressed on its own merits. Look at the still shot below from a video. The hands are not locked. Any mixed martial artist knows that at least in the photo below, it is not technically a choke hold. Ultimately, medical personnel and investigators will have to reach some tough decisions. In the mean time, the family of Eric Garner is understandably devastated.
All suspect are innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law!
Update 8-4-14: The man who video taped the alleged choke was subsequently arrested on gun charges. 22-year-old Ramsey Orta was apparently friends of Eric Garner. Orta allegedly had a previous weapon conviction that prohibited him from possessing a firearm. He also faces a court date on robbery charges stemming from a May arrest. He also faces an assault charge.