Yesterday in Staten Island, eyewitnesses recorded at least six officers tackling him and placing his 400-pound frame in a chokehold, when subsequently went into cardiac arrest and died.
I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.
Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.
“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 got no details from police until after she had gone to the hospital to identify his body, she said.
“I saw him with his eyes wide open and I said, ‘Babe, don’t leave me, I need you.’ But he was already gone,” she said.
She spoke with a Detective Howard, who told her, “I’m sorry for your loss,” she said. He said his office was involved “because there is wrongdoing,” she said.
Police officials said Garner had a history of arrests for selling untaxed cigarettes. Cops said they observed him selling his wares Thursday on Bay St. and moved in for an arrest.
Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video, tried to intervene, telling the cops his friend had just broken up a fight between three men and had not been selling cigarettes.
But when backup uniformed officers arrived, the cops moved in to cuff Garner, the video shows.
Valencia Griffin, an eyewitness to the incident, said the men involved in the fight walked right pass the NYPD and went straight at Garner’s throat.
Flip through the gallery to see cell phone footage of the ordeal. The plain clothes appear to be guilty as charged.
Photos: YouTube/Pix 11, NY Daily News