Let me warn you that what you‘re about to hear is very disturbing.
As you listen to it I want you to remember this name, Eric Garner.
Soon you’ll hear that name a lot more, once the Malaysian plane and the violence in Gaza start to subside from the headlines.
Eric Garner is the 43-year old man who died after a recent, violent altercation with New York City police officers.
The officers confronted Garner and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes.
He had be cited several times previously for selling untaxed cigarettes.
The entire thing was caught on videotape.
Then the confrontation escalates when officers move in.
Garner pleads with the officers not to touch him.
The officers wrestle Garner to the ground.
At first you hear him grunting, struggling to breathe and then more clearly he says, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
And then after a while Garner goes silent, laying on the pavement, motionless, handcuffed for some time until paramedics arrive.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital about an hour later.
New York City’s mayor Bill De Blasio says what he saw on the cellphone video was very disturbing.
What’s also disturbing is the backstory of the NYPD plain clothes officer accused of placing Gardner in an illegal chokehold that was banned from the NYPD decades ago.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran of the NYPD, has been sued twice for alleged civil rights violations.
According to published reports Pantaleo forced two men to “a humiliating and unlawful strip search” on a Staten Island street where they were forced to “pull their pants and underwear down, squat and cough.”
In that same case he’s also accused of falsely claiming the two men had drugs in their car.
They were arrested.
The charges were dismissed.
So far taxpayers have paid out $30,000 in settlement money in that case.
Reports also show Pantaleo is currently being sued for allegedly falsifying a police report where the suspect was arrested on marijuana-related charges even though he was “committing no crime at the time and was not acting in a suspicious manner.”
For the recent incident with Garner, Pantaleo has been put on desk duty, stripped of his gun pending the outcome of the investigation.
The four EMTs who responded to the chokehold call have been placed on modified duty.
And although a preliminary autopsy reportedly shows Garner had little damage to his neck and trachea eyewitnesses along with Garner’s loved ones believe the force police used that day contributed to his death.
There’s the evidence and the background.
And here’s my take:
Look at the entire video on www.BlackAmericaWeb.com<http://www.BlackAmericaWeb.com>.
It’s debatable whether Garner was resisting arrest.
He appears frustrated, but not violent or confrontational.
Even if Eric Garner had sold untaxed cigarettes previously and was selling them then, he did not have to be handled that way.
He did not have to die.
It’s time for New York’s mayor to have a come to Jesus with the NYPD and its commissioner.