A Staten Island man died after being put in a chokehold and having his head slammed against the concrete sidewalk by at least five New York Police Department officers.
Reports say that 43-year-old Eric Garner, a married father of six, weighed 400 pounds, was asthmatic and told officers that he couldn’t breathe as they kept him in a chokehold and slammed his head against the sidewalk.
“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Garner reportedly told officers before he died.
NYPD officers apparently busted Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes and in a struggle to arrest him, they wound up killing him. Now, Garner’s wife says she wants answers.
“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” Esaw Garner told the NY Daily News, going on to describe the moment she identified her husband at the hospital. “I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, ‘Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.’ But he was already gone.”
Witnesses were able to capture the man’s disturbing death on camera, and now, the NYPD Internal Affairs Division says they are investigating “wrongdoing” on the part of the officers who were involved.
“They were choking him,” 50-year-old witness Valencia Griffin said. “He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! Get off of me, get off of me!’ and I didn’t hear any more talking after that.”
Police initially said that Garner died from a heart attack, but his wife Esaw says they are just trying to “cover their asses.”
The investigation is ongoing.