NYPD Kills Eric Garner on Video (Update)

From Carlos Miller at Photography is not a crime:

New York City police officers killed a man Thursday after he had broken up a fight between two other men, insisting on placing him in a chokehold and slamming his head to the pavement, piling on top of him as he gasped for air and as he continually told the cops he couldn’t breathe.

The entire incident was caught on video from a witness who kept telling the cops that the man had not committed a crime.

The Daily News report:

“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 resisted being handcuffed.

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

And Garner, who was alive yesterday, is now dead.

Garner weighed 400 pounds and had a series of health complications, which will no doubt be the blame for his death.

I have nothing to add that illuminates this killing, but thought you ought to know.

Update:  The New York Post announces that the evil criminal, Eric Garner, died of a heart attack while resisting arrest.

An obese man died of a heart ­attack Thursday after he was tackled by police officers on Staten ­Island, cops and witnesses said.

Eric Garner, 43, who weighed about 350 pounds, had been selling untaxed cigarettes on the street in Tompkinsville at around 5 p.m. when he was approached by officers and resisted arrest, ­according to police.

Omitted from the Post’s careful reporting were allegations from unknown sources at Fox News that he had been engaging in bestiality with ducks.   The New York Times, on the other hand, writes:

“As defined in the department’s patrol guide, this would appear to have been a chokehold,” the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, said at a news conference in City Hall on Friday afternoon.

He referred to police rules that forbid chokeholds and define them as including “any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air.”

It is unclear if the chokehold contributed to the death on Thursday afternoon of Mr. Garner, who was at least 6 feet 3 inches tall and who, friends said, had several health issues: diabetes, sleep apnea, and asthma so severe that he had to quit his job as a horticulturist for the city’s parks department. He wheezed when he talked and could not walk a block without resting, they said.

And, of course, there remains the open issue that the unbearably trivial “untaxed cigarette” claim is a total fabrication to create a justification for the arrest, just so they wouldn’t have killed him for absolutely no reason whatsoever.





43 thoughts on “NYPD Kills Eric Garner on Video (Update)

  1. Wheeze the People™

    Well, on the bright side, at least they didn’t arrest and charge the witness for “Interfering with a Police Officer” in the performance of his duties, as I’m sure the witness yelling that the suspect didn’t commit a crime must have distracted the cops when they were killing the suspect . . . You know, glass half-full versus glass half-empty and all that jazz . . .

      1. Wheeze the People™

        No, not at all. What happened, in my view, is that the cops committed a brutal and callous homicide, for which there will likely be little, if any, negative consequences to the perpetrators. I am saddened that Eric Garner was killed by criminal thugs and my condolences to all that knew him. My comment was meant in the spirit of the outrageousness of these types of killings, our seeming inability to do anything about them, and the absurdity the We the People continue to whistle passed the graveyards that are continuously being filled by murderous LEOs . . . Sorry if it didn’t come out that way . . .

      2. RP_LO

        Apparently, the author did….

        Did you miss this??

        “Omitted from the Post’s careful reporting were allegations from unknown sources at Fox News that he had been engaging in bestiality with ducks. ”

        Not only did the author try his hand at sarcasm but he also politicized the issue as well.

        1. SHG Post author

          Nice to have you by for your first comment. As you lack context, your comment is perfectly understandable. I will try to explain. One of the common issues raised by someone being killed by police is the reportage of prior criminal history, despite its irrelevance to the death. The Post, and Fox News, both owned by Rupert Murdoch coincidentally, are strongly supportive of law enforcement, and invariably at the forefront of reporting irrelevant but “damning” information designed to taint a victim of police misconduct. This has been an ongoing issue, discussed with some regularity.

          While the quote is sarcasm and, to some degree, politicized, it is by no means humor. I trust you can now see the glaring error of your comment.

      1. ExCop-LawStudent

        I’m not arguing the point that any chokehold would be appropriate. I am saying that this chokehold, while already being excessive, was improperly applied in a way that changed it from less-lethal to deadly force. The adam’s apple should be in the gap at the officer’s elbow, instead he has his forearm directly compressing the windpipe of the victim.

        It is the difference between a lateral vascular neck restraint (less-lethal) and an arm-bar choke (deadly force).

        1. SHG Post author

          I appreciate the lesson. Your comment might have done better to initially note that there was no justification for force, and then that the force used was improperly applied. Remember where other people’s heads are at, as we tend to be less focused on the technical aspect than on the legal aspect.

        2. Jack

          Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t “lateral vascular neck restraint” just a fancy name for cutting off blood supply to the brain by compressing both carotid arteries? How is that considered less lethal? If you continue to deprive the brain of blood and oxygen, it is going to very, very quickly lead to brain damage and then death – how is that any better then just crushing someone’s trachea?

          1. ExCop-LawStudent

            The LVNR is a vascular restraint that, when properly applied, does not have the same risk of permanent damage to the subject as a larynx / windpipe respiratory chokehold. The LVNR affects four areas, the carotid artery, the jugular vein, the vargus & sinus nerve stimulation, and the valsalva maneuver. Each of these return to normal function after release, but you still get medical treatment and observe the subject for two hours anyway. The arm bar respiratory choke works by crushing the windpipe and injuries to the windpipe can cause it to swell and close, causing death.

            There is a significant difference between the two. I’m not an expert, nor sufficiently versed on the subject to explain the nuances, but know that the LVNR works, both from using it and from being taken down with it in training.

            The bigger issue I see now is that NYPD prohibits all such holds, meaning that the probability is that the officer had absolutely no training on the hold and increases the likelihood that this is what killed the victim.

  2. DHMCarver

    If his family reads this, they have my condolences. Grim, horrible stuff. One thing that struck me was when Mr. Garner said, “Every time you see me you are harassing me.” It is only a matter of time before NYPD will be showing a rap sheet of his “resisting arrest”, etc. Welcome to life of a black man in America. Rest in peace, Mr. Garner.

    1. SHG Post author

      No doubt a statement will be issued detailing the list of irrelevant horribles with which to besmirch the man they killed, so we don’t feel as if this man’s life is too great a loss.

  3. Keith

    They didn’t intend to kill him. Wrongful death suit, possible negligent homicide charges and pink slips for every cop involved that wasn’t trying to give the man first aid.

  4. Charlesmorrison

    He wasn’t fleeing, eluding or anything of the like prior to the decision to “mess with him.” Granted, we don’t have the entire encounter recorded on the linked/embedded video, but from the video I just watched, he probably would have stayed right there while any investigation took place. Meaning, police had the ability to actually talk to witnesses to determine his role, if any, prior to slapping cuffs on him. They chose not to.

    Oh, and it appears there is a prior relationship between this poor gentleman and the police. Had he successfully left the scene (unlikely given the police presence and his stature) while they were sorting things out, it wouldn’t have mattered long-term; they’d find him.

    Husband. Father. Grandfather.

    Had he not been any of those, his death would not be any “better,” but the fact he was all of those makes it even worse. Collateral damage.

    1. Charlesmorrison

      I realize the absurd lack of logic in my final sentence… Sometimes my brain works faster than my fingers. The point I was trying to make was that any lack of familial relationships wouldn’t make the death any better or less tragic, but that it certainly feels worse, knowing those facts.

  5. Mark Stoval


    A while back you said you did not understand those of us who see cops as all bad. Now that rant was about those who advocate murder, but you told us about having cop friends and going to see car shows with them. But the last three posts are about bad cops, bad judges, bad grand juries, and a just plain broken system I guess.

    I hope you can someday come to see that those of us who honor the non-aggression principle find the presents legal system to be one of total injustice. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that you are part of the system and I step on your toes a bit by stating what I just did. Sorry, but law handed down by the State (or the government) and carried out by its brutal agents can never be anything but what you write about here all the time — totally corrupt and brutal.

    [Ed. Note: links deleted per rules.]

    I am not a lawyer. Some of the above (on the off chance you skim over them) will not meet the exacting legal standards of a professional lawyer, but perhaps you will get the idea. You see, some of us find the police/law/courts as we see the institution today as extraordinarily repugnant. And reading your posts don’t make me feel any better about it all!

    By the way; if you choose to delete this post, that will be fine with me. I wrote this for you mainly. I have enjoyed your blog for a long time. I thought I would try to let you know that radical libertarians have reasons to abhor the present system.

    1. SHG Post author


      Would you feel better if I posted stories about cops saving kittens in trees? There is a spectrum, and these posts exist because the problems they reflect need to be recognized and fixed, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the spectrum doesn’t exist.

      It’s not binary. I understand your point. I always have. Cops aren’t good or evil. The world isn’t black and white.

  6. Michelle

    The part that disturbed me most is that he was stating he cannot breathe more than once.. Said it twice and none of the officers stop to assure that he was okay. When officers apprehend someone I’m sure they don’t know what medical condition they may have. Asthma can be aggravated jus any factors, and when he was stating he couldn’t breath none of the officers seemed to back off after they had him on the ground. A 400-pound person is not able to get up that fast especially if cannot breath.
    Whatever the reason it was to arrest him, just like anyone else will put the arresting history Mr. Garner had, but that still doesn’t make it right that the officer with the no. 99 had to put him in a choke hold that shouldn’t of been used.. Why not wait until the back up got there? It didn’t look like Mr. Garner was going to sprint off running.
    Hopefully, which is more possible wishing, that if there is wrong doing which seems like there was that they own up to it and give the family respect in doing so instead of trying to make someone else the bad guy because they don’t want to be in the spotlight.
    My condolences go out to his family and hope that everything is done correctly to give the famy some peace, because they will never get back their loved one.

    1. SHG Post author

      Well. Okay then.

      By the way, if you want to send condolences to his family, this probably isn’t the right place to do so. His family doesn’t live here.

      1. FMJohnson

        SHG Post authorJuly 18, 2014 at 10:01 am
        “Some posts don’t lend themselves well to anything more than condolences. This is one.”

  7. Oso Ugatdatshit

    Condolences to the family. Shame on the real “perps”. That is the term commonly used by law encroachment officers to describe anyone who isn’t in their legal street mob.

    Wish I could say “this one” will finally bring justice but it’s just not going to happen. Deep Cover Detective 99’s t-shirt sums this one up before it even gets started – “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one”…

    1. SHG Post author

      Thank you for explaining to lawyers at a criminal defense blog the term “perps.” We’ve all been wondering what that meant for decades.

  8. Bomb

    You really think they made up the cigarette charge? He was arrested 8 other times for the same thing, and 31 times total.

      1. lawrence kaplan

        It was Louie who said that after Major Strasser was shot. But your point , despite this mistake, is well taken. There appears to be no evidence that in this instance Gamer was involved in selling untaxed cigarettes.

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