On July 17, Eric Garner, a 43-year-old NY resident, was confronted by the NYPD for allegedly selling “untaxed” cigarettes.
Garner questioned the
thugs officers about why he was being harassed. At least two witnesses filmed the incident, which clearly shows Daniel Pantaleo, one of the NYPD bullies, throw Garner into a chokehold – a move that was banned by the police force in 1993.
Last Friday, the New York City medical examiner’s office confirmed what many of us already knew.
The cause of Garner’s death was “compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police,” said Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. The death was ruled a homicide.
The investigation into Garner’s death is ongoing, said Douglas Auer, a spokesman for the Richmond County district attorney’s office:
“We await the issuance of the official death certificate and the autopsy report,” he said in a statement.
The U.S. Justice Department has said it is monitoring the investigation. If local prosecutors decline to file criminal charges, the federal justice department could conduct an investigation into whether the victim’s civil rights were violated, reports CNN.
Despite video evidence and the medical examiner’s findings, some still insist that the NYPD officers involved in Garner’s death didn’t do anything wrong.
One of those people is Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. He called Officer Pantaleo’s reassignment “a completely unwarranted, kneejerk reaction for political reasons.” He said the move “effectively pre-judges this case and denies the officer the very benefit of a doubt that has long been part of the social contract that allows police officers to face the risks of this difficult and complex job.”
Lynch also said that that if Garner “had not resisted the lawful order of the police officers placing him under arrest, this tragedy would not have occurred.”
Today, Lynch took his opinions on Garner’s death even further.
“This was not a choke hold,” Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (the largest union representing NY police officers), told a press conference, referring to a July 17 incident in which Eric Garner, accused of selling illegal cigarettes on a Staten Island street, died after a scuffle with police.
“It was bringing a person to the ground, which we’re trained to do, to put him under arrest. It was not a choke hold,” he said.
He called a chief medical examiner’s report, which last week found Garner’s death was caused by a choke hold, “one of the most political documents” he had ever seen.
Denial isn’t just a river in Eqypt…
Maybe Lynch needs to watch this video a few more times.
Oh, and incidentally, Ramsey Orta, the witness who recorded that video, says he is being targeted by the NYPD.
Orta was arrested on gun possession charges – the day after the medical examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide.
Orta’s mother told CBS that police have been following her son since he recorded Garner’s arrest:
“They’ve been following him,” she said. “They’ve been sitting in front of my house. They put spot lights in my window.”
Orta does have a criminal record – he’s been arrested 27 times since 2009 for offenses including fare evasion, pot possession, gun possession, menacing with a gun, and a May robbery.
He spoke with the NY Daily News by phone on Monday:
They lying on me, they doing me wrong,” an anguished Orta said after he pleaded not guilty Monday and his bail was set at $75,000. “I’ve been harassed by the police since this whole video” emerged.
Speaking by phone after his arraignment in Staten Island Criminal Court, Orta said when the officers busted him Saturday they “started videotaping me before I even went to the precinct.”
“I said, ‘Excuse me officer, you’re violating my rights now’,” he said. “That’s when (one of the officers) said, ‘Shut your mouth,’ and ‘karma’s a bitch. What goes around comes around.’”
CBS2 reported that Orta said during his arrest, “You’re mad because I filmed your boy.” The NYPD said officers did not know he was the same person until he said that.
But NYPD sources told CBS 2 they did know who Orta was because of his criminal background. But they said there was no indication that police were sitting on his house, following him or targeting him.
Sure, throw the book at Orta, for petty crimes…while Officer Pantaleo, who sure appears to be a murderer based on strong evidence, hasn’t been arrested. Heck, he hasn’t even lost his job over Garner’s death.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said in a statement that it was “criminals like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most by demonizing the good work of police officers.”
Does the NYPD really need help being demonized, though? Seems like they are doing a fine job of that on their own.