July 18, 2014
A New York man who broke up a street fight Thursday died after being choked to death by police.
Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was tackled by police and immediately placed in a choke following a brief argument outside a local beauty supply store.
Garner, who suffers from asthma, can be heard pleading for help as more officers arrive and begin piling on top of him.
“I can’t breathe!” Garner says repeatedly.
Face first on the ground, Garner begins to lose consciousness as a seperate officer can be seen pressing his face into the concrete.
“Everybody back up!” an officer suddenly screams.
Noticing Garner’s lifeless body, police step back as another officer attempts to wake him.
“There’s something wrong with him,” a woman says.
Likely realizing they just murdered an innocent man, police begin ordering people to step back from the scene.
The video’s author, 22-year-old Ramsey Orta, described the incident in detail to the New York Daily News.
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta said. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”
According to one officer, Garner was approached for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, not for breaking up a fight.
Garner’s wife, Esaw, told The News that she wasn’t alterted to her husband’s fate until she arrived at the hospital.
“I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, ‘Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.’ But he was already gone,” Esaw said. “When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time.”
Esaw says police ignored her while at the hospital, refusing to answer her questions about what happened.
“They wouldn’t tell me anything,” Esaw said.
While at the hospital, Esaw says she eventually spoke with a Detective Howard, who said his office would be looking into the incident due to apparent “wrongdoing.”
A statement released by the New York Police Department claimed that Garner went into cardiac arrest during the detainment, but made no mention of the officer’s choke hold.
“They’re covering their asses, he was breaking up a fight,” Esaw said. “They harassed and harassed my husband until they killed him.”
An anonymous law enforcement source told The News that the incident was a “potential” problem for the NYPD.
Garner’s situation is eerily similar to that of Kelly Thomas, a mentally disabled homeless man who was beat to death by California police in 2011.
Despite Thomas’ murder being caught on film, all involved officers were acquitted.