Following the death of Eric Garner in New York City, the Rev. Al Sharpton is holding two rallies on Saturday. Garner died on Thursday at Richmond University Medical Center after he was being arrested in the city. A video of the struggle between the deceased and a police officer shows the officer appearing to have the man in a choke hold. According to a Fox News report on Saturday, a choke hold is a tactic which is prohibited by New York City Police Department’s own policies.
The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has called the death of Eric Garner a very troubling incident, according to NewsDay. Reportedly, the mayor postponed his planned vacation to Italy due to the incident. De Blasio postponed his trip so that he could meet with community leaders and city officials regarding the deadly incident throughout the night on Friday.
As the incident went down, Garner, who was 43 years of age, suffered a heart attack during the confrontation he had with police. At the time, police were attempting to arrest him on suspicions of selling untaxed cigarettes. He was allegedly selling the untaxed cigarettes outside a beauty salon on Staten Island near the ferry terminal.
During the incident, two plain-clothed officers confronted Garner. After being confronted, the huge man – who was 6 feet and three inches tall, weight some 350 pounds – reportedly became irate. According to a video obtained by the New York Daily News, Garner denying the charges against him and refusing to let the officers put handcuffs on him. That’s when one of the officers appears to have tried putting the choke hold on the suspect.
Garner is heard on the video repeatedly complaining that he can’t breathe while four or more people officers brought him down to the ground. That’s when it appears the suspect lost consciousness. The video also shows the officer, who appears to have put the choke hold on Garner, pushing the man’s face into the sidewalk.
Mayor de Blasio said that he watched the video the same way a family member would have watched it. He said that it was very sad to see. Probes into the case have been opened by Staten Island prosecutors and detectives from the internal affairs division. At this time, the official cause of Garner’s death has not been determined.