Family members and victim advocates are alleging police brutality in New York City after a 43-year old father died during or shortly after being allegedly placed in a choke hold by an NYPD officer. Eric Garner was accused of selling illegal cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk earlier this month. During an attempt to take him into custody, Garner died. Victim's advocates say that police officers involved in the fatal incident may have been motivated by Garner's race and intimidated by his size.
Video shot at the scene shows Garner denying the charges, telling officers that he feels harassed, pleading his innocence. When one officer tries to detain Garner, he pulls away. Another comes from behind and puts him in a choke hold. He's then pushed to the ground and his face is pressed into the concrete, his voice becoming muffled. The video goes on to show Garner pleading with officers saying that he couldn't breathe. Shortly thereafter Garner went into cardiac arrest.
The incident has once again ripped open the debate surrounding police brutality in New York City. While Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton have vowed to root out any such abuse of power within the NYPD, incidents like this repeatedly reappear to confirm that the issue is not being adequately addressed .
The Mayor's office and Commissioner Bratton have both promised a full and thorough investigation into Garner's death but that's no solace for his family. Indeed, his widowed wife is left to fend for herself and Garner's six children.
According to official records, NYPD officers were accused of using controversial choke holds over 200 times last year alone but only two of those cases were substantiated during investigations. In 60% of those incidents, investigators were unable to determine whether or not choke holds were actually used. Digging further back, independent investigators have found thousands of other "unsubstantiated" choke hold allegations in recent years.
If your or a loved one has been the victim of abuse at the hands of the NYPD, contact a New York City police brutality lawyer immediately. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.