Eric Garner's Death

Eric Garner's Death

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Updated Jan 08, 2020 at 01:57PM EST by ThatOtherGuy80.

Added Jul 19, 2014 at 12:33AM EDT by Meta12.

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Overview

Eric Garner was a 43-year-old Staten Island man who died after being placed in a choke-hold by the officers of the New York Police Department in July 2014.

Background

On July 17th, 2014, Eric Garner[1], a New York City father of six children[8] and a 400 pound asthmatic man, was put into a choke-hold after apparently breaking up a fight outside a local storefront in Staten Island. Five New York Police Department officers surrounded the father and then forced him onto the ground, while the man continually shouted "I can't breathe."[2] Eric Garner died shortly thereafter. On the following day, a video clip of the police action at the scene taken by Taisha Allen was uploaded to YouTube (shown below).

Garner suffered from numerous medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and sleep apnea.[1] Whether or not these factors played a role in his death is unclear. Following Garner’s death, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the event a terrible tragedy and spoke out against widespread use of excessive force in the police force. Meanwhile, many of Garner's associates and bystanders at the scene decried racial profiling as he had been previously targeted by the police for selling "untaxed cigarettes."[3] According to the NYPD departmental policy, use of the chokehold is prohibited.

Notable Developments

Online Reactions

In just two days, the initial video quickly went viral and garnered over 300,000 views and 1,000 comments on the hotly discussed issue of police brutality[2]. Soon after the death, Internet forums such as 4chan and Reddit[14], along with websites of many online news sources and Facebook began to spread the event, resulting in more rallies in Staten Island and Harlem. A change.org petition to further punish the offending officers was also launched in the days following the event.[15]


Official Response

In the wake of Garner's death and the subsequent public protests, Mayor de Blasio spoke out once more on July 19th, vowing to "Change the NYPD for good"[9][11] He followed by saying "I watched it as a family member would watch it, and it was very sad to watch."[8] Some have criticized the Mayor and the NYPD for being what they see as a slap on the wrist on the police officers involved at the scene, citing much harsher measures being taken in a virtually identical case from 1994, in which NYPD officer Francis Levoti was convicted by a federal jury for placing a man who later died in a choke-hold.[4][6]



Mayor de Blasio speaking out against brutality in the NYPD
Disciplinary Actions

On July 21st, 2014, four emergency medical technicians and paramedics who responded were placed on suspension without pay, while two NYPD officers involved in Garner's death, Justin Damico and Daniel Pantaleo, were placed on desk duty, with the latter stripped of his service gun and badge.

Reverend Al Sharpton's Rally

Local reverend Al Sharpton organized a rally against police brutality in honor of Eric on the following Saturday, July 19th.[10] Eric's family and close friends stood nearby, including his widow, Esaw Garner.[9] Sharpton later held a vigil for Eric as well, hoping that leaders in the community will see that change needs to be made, and soon.[5]



"We are the only ones in the social setup that has to deal with fear both the cops and the robbers", Sharpton said following the death.[5]

Additional Video

The day after the first video was posted to YouTube, another video detailing the aftermath of Eric's death was uploaded. In the video, several police officers are seen searching Eric's corpse, removing a pack of cigarettes and a cell phone before placing him on a stretcher. Nowhere in the video do any of them try to help or resuscitate Eric who appears to be unconscious.



News Media Coverage

In the days following the incident several media outlets covered the unfortunate event, including noteworthy sites such as CBS News[4], USA Today[5], Vice[6], Fox News[7], Business Insider[12], and ABC News[13], among others.

Grand Jury Hearing

In late October 2014, a county grand jury was convened in Staten Island, New York to hear evidence and deliberate whether to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who placed Garner on chokehold on that day. On December 3rd, 2014, only a week after the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided to not to file any charges against the police officer who fatally shot local teenager Michael Brown, New York District Attorney Dan Donovan announced that the grand jury has cleared Officer Pantaleo of charges for using the chokehold tactic implicated in Garner’s death. That same day, demonstrators gathered for a “die-in” at Grand Central station in Manhattan, where they laid down on the ground in protest of the grand jury decision (shown below).


Ivan Pereira @lvanPer4 Follow Protesters hold "die in" at Grand Central. #EricGarner Manhattan, NY わ ★ RETWEETS FAVORITES 240 72 4:38 PM- 3 Dec 2014

That evening, United States President Barack Obama addressed the grand jury decision during the Tribal Nations Conference held at the White House (shown below).


“And as I said, when I met with folks both from Ferguson and from law enforcement and clergy and civil rights activists, I said this is an issue we’ve been dealing with for too long, and its time for us to make more progress than we’ve made. And I’m not interested in talk, I’m interested in action, and I am absolutely committed as President of the United States to making sure that we have a country in which everybody believes in the core principle that we are equal under the law.”

Meanwhile, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on the Justice Department to launch a Federal investigation into the matter.[16][17]


Follow @SenSchumer The Justice Department must launch a Federal investigation into Eric Garner's death as soon as possible. -cs 4:29 PM-03 Dec 14 ← Reply Retweet !★ Favorite Kirsten Gillibrand @SenGillibrand Follow Shocking grand jury decision in Eric Garner case, l'll be calling on @ TheJusticeDept to investigate. I urge protests to remain peaceful 4:25 PM-03 Dec 14 ← Reply Retweet 「★Favorite

Federal Charges

On July 16th, 2019, the United States Justice Department announced that federal charges would not be brought against Daniel Pantaleo, following a five-year-long inquiry, and one day before the deadline to decide whether to bring charges passed, according to the New York Times.[18] CNN[19] reports that U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue stated that there was "insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pantaleo acted 'willfully' in violation of the federal criminal civil rights act."

Attorney General William Barr sided with the decision, asserting that federal civil rights charges would not be brought against the officer.[20]

In a statement outside the courthouse, Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, vowed to "keep pushing" for justice (shown below).


Additionally, Carr tweeted[21] the phrase "This is not the end" several times on Twitter, where it received more than 2,300 likes and 690 retweets in 24 hours (shown below, left).

Others shared their surprise and outrage with the decision. Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted[22], "This is an injustice. We have a responsibility to protect our citizens--and to hold police accountable when they fail. No one is safe in a country with a broken criminal justice system. My heart goes out to Eric Garner's family today." The tweet received more than 10,000 likes and 2,600 retweets in 24 hours (shown below, center). Presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker tweeted[23], "This decision is wrong, unjust and painful reminder of just how broken our criminal justice system is. Eric Garner should be alive today. I pray his loved ones can find peace." The tweet received more than 4,000 likes and 1,000 retweets in 24 hours (shown below, right).


Gwen Carr @RealGwenCarr This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end. This is not the end #EricGarner 11:17 AM 16 Jul 2019 Elizabeth Warren @ewarren This is an injustice. We have a responsibility to protect our citizens-and to hold police accountable when they fail. No one is safe in a country with a broken criminal justice system. My heart goes out to Eric Garner's family today. CBS News @CBSNews BREAKING: Federal prosecutors won't charge an NYPD officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, whose last words, "I can't breathe," sparked protests across the U.S. cbsn.ws/21JpDKd 11:36 AM 16 Jul 2019 Cory Booker @CoryBooker This decision is wrong, unjust and painful reminder of just how broken our criminal justice system is. Eric Garner should be alive today. I pray his loved ones can find peace. CBS News @CBSNews BREAKING: Federal prosecutors won't charge an NYPD officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, whose last words, "I can't breathe," sparked protests across the U.S. cbsn.ws/21JpDKd 10:45 AM 16 Jul 2019

Article on Ramsey Orta

On March 13, 2019, The Verge published an article on Ramsey Orta, the indivudial who filmed the police killing of Eric Garner.[24] The article goes into detail regarding the poor treatment the police gave to Ramsey, including target harassment and attempted poisoning. On December 25, 2019, @HenryKrinkIe tweeted about the article saying "Prison guards tried to poison the guy who filmed Eric Garner's murder by NYPD by putting rat poison in his meatloaf"[25]. The tweet garnered over 17,000 retweets and over 29,000 likes.


Нк @HenryKrinkle Prison guards tried to poison the guy who filmed Eric Garner's murder by NYPD by putting rat poison in his meatloaf He filmed the killing of Eric Garner-and the police punished him for it The story of Ramsey Orta is one of continued and unending police harassment. O theverge.com 7:41 PM - Dec 25, 2019 · Twitter for Android 17.2K Retweets 29.8K Likes

Search Interest

External References

[1] Newsday – Eric Garner Dies After Chokehold

[2] Youtube – Black Man "Eric Garner" Killed by Police

[3] NY Times – Staten Island Man Dies After Chokehold

[4] CBS News – Rally Held for NYC Man Who Died after Police Chokehold

[5] USA Today – Officer in fatal NYC arrest stripped of gun, badge

[6] Vice – Eric Garner and the Plague of Police Brutality Against Black Men

[7] Fox News – Eric Garner Death

[8] NY Daily News – Death of dad of 6 after police put him in chokehold

[9] Christian Monitor – Minor Crime Questioning Leads to Death

[10] NY Daily News – Rev. Sharpton calls death of Staten Island man a "test" for Mayor de Blasio

[11] Newsday – Death after fatal choke hold will test de Blasio's vow to change NYPD

[12] ABC News – Cop in chokehold death loses badge, gun

[13] Business Insider – Death during agressive arrest

[14] Reddit – Results for "Eric Garner"

[15] Change.org – Bring the Police officers responsible for the death of Eric Garner to justice

[16] Twitter – @SenSchumer

[17] Twitter – @SenGillibrand

[18] The New York Times – Eric Garner’s Death Will Not Lead to Federal Charges for N.Y.P.D. Officer

[19] CNN – Prosecutors say they could not prove NYPD officer acted willfully in Eric Garner's death

[20] CNN – Barr sides against civil rights officials in declining to bring charges against NYPD officer in Garner case

[21] Twitter – @RealGwenCarr's Tweet

[22] Twitter – @ewarren's Tweet

[23] Twitter – @CoryBooker's Tweet

[24] The Verge – Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner, so the police punished him

[25] Twitter – "@HenryKrinkIe's Tweet ":https://twitter.com/HenryKrinkIe/status/1209997530685231105

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Top Comments

yummines
yummines

Ok Michael Brown was a thief who got a little too handsy with the police and was shot. He refused to comply with orders, and tried to fight them. May not have deserved to die, but he certainly is not innocent. He was 6'4 and had a criminal record, I have little pity for him.

Eric Garner was a family man who was spotted by a plain-clothes officer and then wrestled to the ground even after he put his hands up. Then he was choked out and died due to health complications. Many are calling it an excessive use of force, and I would have to agree with them since he literally was minding his own business when the police came to him and wrestled him to the ground with no warning.

Somebody please tell me why this is somehow less of a thing than Michael Brown. They both died because of the police. Does Michael Brown getting shot somehow make it worse? Or the fact that he was younger?

MICHAEL BROWN WAS A THUG AND HE IS GETTING MORE RECOGNITION THAN A FAMILY MAN BECAUSE HE GOT SHOT. WHEN IT WAS VERY LIKELY JUSTIFIED. Letting that sink in is making me really really angry at the world right now.

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