After the shocking death of Staten Island father Eric Garner last week at the hands of the NYPD, police commissioner Bill Bratton has ordered an overhaul of the department’s policy regarding putting suspects in a chokehold.
In case you missed it, police used excessive force to put Eric Garner in a chokehold and slammed his head on the ground. Law enforcement suspected the man of selling illegal cigarettes, however, Garner denied the claim and it has yet to be corroborated. Luckily, a witness caught the incident of Garner being choked to death on his cell phone’s camera and the officers who were involved in the attack will undoubtedly be held accountable. The incident has outraged the entire nation, so no one will be getting off easy in this case.
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A week after this horrific incident, another video has surfaced of an unidentified man being put into a chokehold and repeatedly punched in the face by NYPD officers. Bystanders were shocked to see the excessive force with which the man was treated. The video of his attack, which can be seen above, was sent to East Harlem community activist Rev. Kelmy Rodriguez by an anonymous source. Rodriguez was disgusted by it:
“I was appalled when I saw this video, especially after the Eric Garner situation. Something like this adds more gas to the fire.”
The NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Training, Benjamin Tucker, is currently conducting a “top-to-bottom” review of the department’s chokehold policy. All of the NYPD’s 35,000 officers are set to be retrained in the form of apprehending a suspect, which has come under fire since Garner’s death. Bratton is looking to the LAPD for inspiration. Their state-of-the-art training measures were instituted after the immigration rallies in California in 2007.
The investigation into Garner’s death has come into question as well. The initial report did not even mention a chokehold, which is absurd, being that this is exactly what caused the asthmatic’s death. The report also claimed that Garner “was not in great distress” and his health “did not get worse” as he was held down. Both of those statements are blatant lies. Garner could clearly be heard by everyone around pleading that he could not breathe. One more fabrication contained in the report is that Garner resisted arrest. He did no such thing.
Garner was basically rushed by a throng of officers who had him outnumbered. The cop who killed him, Officer Pantaleo, snidely waved to the camera as Garner was wheeled off on a stretcher, suggesting that he was anything but remorseful for his heinous actions. Pantaleo has been forced to turn in his gun and badge pending further investigation.
In the eight years he has spent as an officer for the NYPD, Pantaleo has accrued a whopping seven civil rights lawsuits against him. For one of these in particular, the department had to shell out $30,000 to two victims who were unlawfully strip-searched. This begs the question why Pantaleo was still on the streets with a gun and a badge at the time he killed Eric Garner. Clearly, the man had issues with abusing his power. If seven civil rights lawsuits weren’t enough to have him stripped of his duties, then the problem goes much deeper than a faulty chokehold policy.
Bratton is anticipating a civil suit from Garner’s family, who is thankful that his death was filmed so that the those responsible will not have the opportunity to shy away from taking responsibility. Bratton also reported that he would not be surprised if the U.S. attorney opened a civil rights violation investigation.
Reports of police brutality continue to surface on a daily basis. Let us know how you feel about this latest story in the comments section.