Stop, frisk, and strangle? Eric Garner, a 43 old New Yorker, was choked to death on video by officers with the New York Police Department. Garner was killed when one of the officers used a chokehold in the process of arresting him – the chokehold is an illegal maneuver and the police officer who performed it has been put on leave pending an investigation. Garner was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, something he had been charged with previously.
Four emergency responders have also been put on leave pending an investigation into their conduct related to Garner.
Video from the event has gone viral – both the choking death and a recording of police officers digging through Garner’s pockets instead of administering CPR. – and community activists have launched protests over what they consider to be yet another example of brutality by the NYPD.
Garner was arrested in Staten Island after he was allegedly seen selling “loosie” cigarettes, police said. Garner was known for selling individual cigarettes for 50 cents each in his Staten Island neighborhood. Police said the cigarettes come from North Carolina and Garner is the end of the supply line. Because the Staten Island man allegedly sold cigarettes to children, the police called the cigarettes a “quality of life” issue in the neighborhood.
Garner’s death has led to outrage, especially after video obtained by the New York Daily News appeared to show that the man was put into a chokehold as he was arrested. The chokehold is prohibited by NYPD departmental policy.
Selling single cigarettes is a “quality of life” issue? Maybe for Phillip Morris USA. The broken windows theory strikes again.
But even if Garner had committed the crime he was accused of, the lack of basic discipline by the NYPD is extremely problematic. There were multiple officers on the scene and the video shows rather light (if any) resistance by Garner to the arrest which makes the use of the illegal chokehold all the more inappropriate.