NYPD Releases Report on Eric Garner’s Death

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It was all captured on video.

Last Thursday, NYPD officers approached Eric Garner, a 350-pound father of six, on a sidewalk in Staten Island, N.Y. Garner, who witnesses claimed had just broken up a street fight, appeared visibly agitated at the fact that the police allegedly wanted to hold him for no reason and begins complaining loudly about their constant, unwarranted harassment. “This stops today!,” he shouted.

The video footage doesn’t clearly show why the officers approached — they say he was selling illegal cigarettes — but the entire world would see what happened next.

The police rushed Garner, appearing to place him in what some authorities have described an illegal chokehold in an attempt to take him down to the ground. As police attempted to handcuff him, one could hear Garner clearly crying out, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” He said this repeatedly — and then, nothing. As witnesses realized he wasn’t responding, police began to block the sight of Garner’s unconscious body on the ground as EMTs rush the scene and place him on a stretcher — without seemingly attempting CPR. Garner would end up dead of cardiac arrest. Since his death, two police officers, two paramedics and two of the EMTs on the scene have been suspended without pay. Another officer has been assigned to desk duty.

A slew of cell phone camera videos tell the story of what happened on that Staten Island sidewalk. However, late last night, the NYPD released an internal report detailing an entirely different chain of events. For one thing, there is no mention of a chokehold. What’s more, one NYPD sergeant said that Garner “did not appear to be in great distress.” Interestingly, another sergeant concurred that Garner’s  condition “did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse” — despite the fact that she could clearly hear Garner say he was having trouble breathing.

So, what’s the real story? Although the report insists the officers on the scene did their jobs properly, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has said on record that it looks as if police used a chokehold on Garner. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, on vacation in Italy, told the New York Daily News that while he wants to wait for a proper investigation to run its course, “it looked like a chokehold to me.” What really happened on that sidewalk? Is the NYPD prepared to go up against its top brass and the mayor? Stay tuned — this story is just getting started.