NYPD report claimed chokehold victim Eric Garner “was not in great distress”20
April V. Taylor
The video of NYPD officers placing Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold and his subsequent death has gone viral, sparking outrage across the country. While many have responded with anger, what may make many even more angry is finding out that a preliminary internal report obtained by the New York Daily News makes no mention of the illegal chokehold. To make matters worse, not only does the report fail to mention Garner’s repeated statements about not being able to breathe, the report states that he was not in “great distress.”
Officers appear to have coordinated a cover-up of any incriminating details. Upon being questioned, Sgt. Dhanan Saminath stated that officers had Garner in cuffs, “maintaining control of him” and that he “did not appear to be in great distress.” Sgt. Kizzy Adonis echoed Saminath’s sentiments stating, “the perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse.” Additional statements from the report include that Garner resisted arrest and that Garner became unresponsive while being handcuffed but that he was observed breathing. Again, no mention of the illegal chokehold is made. The report also states that Garner allegedly did not go into cardiac arrest until he was placed on a stretcher by EMTs.
Witnesses to Garner’s arrest give an account that is much more violent than the one given by officers. Witness Taisha Allen states that she saw officers strike Garner in the head and shoulder after he was already on the ground and telling officers that he could not breathe. Even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio felt that what occurred was not quite as simple as the officers had stated after reviewing video of the incident. De Blasio states, “As an individual who’s no expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me.”
Two of the officers involved have been put on desk duty while an internal investigation is conducted. In addition, two EMTs and two paramedics have been suspended without pay. The possibility of a criminal investigation is still pending.