The New York City medical examiner’s office released a statement late Friday afternoon concerning the death of Eric Garner. According to Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, Garner was killed by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo when he applied a chokehold — a form of restraint that is prohibited by the police department. Garner’s death has been ruled a homicide.
Bolcer went on to state that Garner died from, “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police. Asthma and heart disease contributed to his death.”
The Staten Island District Attorney is investigating the case and the U.S. Department of Justice is also monitoring the tense situation in New York. Pantaleo was reassigned to desk duty and stripped of his badge and gun. His partner, who has not been identified by the NYPD, was also assigned to desk duty but was allowed to keep his badge and gun.
National civil rights groups have called Garner’s death a horrific tragedy and evidence of a pattern of abuse by the New York Police Department. As soon as the video went viral on YouTube showing Garner being choked to death and saying “I can’t breathe” repeatedly, it provoked outrage in the black community. The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network were heavily involved in bringing Garner’s death to the public’s attention. Now it has been proved that Garner was killed by Pantaleo’s use of an illegal chokehold.