An internal New York Police Department report obtained by the New York Daily News states that the Staten Island man who died of a chokehold while under arrest last week didn’t appear to be in “great distress.”
That same memo also failed to mention the chokehold at all.
One officer, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, said Garner’s condition “did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse.”
But the memo’s claims aren’t adding up with the now viral video of Eric Garner’s arrest and death — in the video, Garner can be seen shouting at the arresting officers, “I can’t breathe! Get off of me!” multiple times. You can watch that disturbing video below:
If you recall, police say Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was suspected of selling illegal cigarettes. But witnesses have come forth, telling media and law enforcement that Garner never had any cigarettes on him. Many say the father had just come from breaking up a neighborhood fight when he was arrested and killed.
Now, new information regarding the officer who held Garner in a chokehold is shedding light on his previous unlawful, racially motivated arrests. In fact, Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who can be seen wrapping his arm around Garner’s neck, has had two previous civil rights lawsuits brought against him.
From the Staten Island Advance:
One of the two civil rights lawsuits against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold Thursday, ended up costing taxpayers $30,000 in settlement money, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney.
The suit, which was settled in January, accuses Pantaleo and another officer of strip-searching two men on a New Brighton street, pulling down their pants and underwear in broad daylight, in March 2012.
The second lawsuit against Pantaleo is still open – filed by Rylawn Walker in Manhattan federal court this past February.
Walker accuses Pantaleo of arresting him on Feb. 16, 2012 even though he was “committing no crime at that time and was not acting in a suspicious manner.”
The lawsuit doesn’t specify the circumstances of the arrest, but alleges that Pantaleo “misrepresented facts in the police reports and other documents that the plaintiff had committed offenses when in fact this was not true.”
He has since been stripped of his badge and gun.
While reaction to Garner’s arrest and cause of death varies, Mayor Bill de Blasio has come forth to give his opinion.
“As an individual who’s not an expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, who delayed his vacation after Garner’s death, told reporters in Italy on Monday.
In a press conference, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said that every member of the department would be retrained on the use of force in the wake of the incident.
And in a video that sheds light on the NYPD’s storied and brutal history with inner city communities, Spike Lee combined scenes from his iconic movie Do The Right Thing with Garner’s death — a mashup of the father’s chokehold killing with that of character Radio Raheem, who was killed in a similar manner by NYPD officers.
Lee posted the chilling video to his YouTube page. Take a look at the eerily similar scenes below:
Garner’s funeral will be held on Wednesday.