Staten Island man Eric Garner died Thursday after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers, and video obtained by the New York Daily News shows the entire incident, including Garner saying, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe."
The New York Daily News said Garner, 43 and a father of six
, had asthma and that after at least five New York Police Department officers tackled him to the ground, one holding him in a chokehold, he passed out.
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The video shows Garner telling the police to leave him alone and then pulling his arms away as they try to handcuff him. At that point, several police surrounded the 400-pound man, one putting him in a chokehold, and Garner eventually dropped to the ground.
“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” Garner’s wife, Esaw, told the Daily News. She also said that a detective told her he was with Internal Affairs and that he was sorry for her loss.
She added that the detective said his office was called on the case "because there is wrongdoing."
Police told the Daily News Garner was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes and that’s why they approached him on Thursday.
An NYPD spokesman said Garner “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died” at Richmond University Medical Center.
Family members told the Daily News that Garner didn’t have cigarettes on him when he died.
In the video, which shows the incidents leading up to police grabbing Garner, he is heard yelling, “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!”
SI Live printed a statement from Brooklyn councilman Jumaane Williams
about the incident. He said, “As an elected official who has fought for better police practices, the video of an unarmed man screaming in a chokehold that he can't breathe disgusts me. Selling illegal cigarettes, which has yet to be confirmed, should not mean a death sentence.”
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