Eric Garner, 43, of Staten Island died Thursday after being forced to the ground and put in to what appears to be a choke hold by an NYPD officer. In video footage taken by witnesses, Garner is seen and heard speaking with the officers before the incident. At one point, Garner can be heard asking to be left alone, stating he did nothing wrong. The person recording the video, stated that Garner had just broken up a fight. According to reports, the police were attempting to arrest Garner because he was selling single cigarettes (loosies) and they had complaints from local merchants about the issue, claiming it was affecting their cigarette sales. Garner can be seen being taken down to the ground by officers while one appears to pushing his head into the sidewalk, Garner states that he can not breathe before going unconscious. NYPD has stated that Garner suffered a heart attack but the medical examiner has yet to give the official report from the autopsy which will determine the exact cause of death. Mayor Bill de Blasio stated this was a terrible tragedy and delayed his family vacation to Italy after learning of the incident to meet with community leaders. Reverend Al Sharpton will be holding protests Saturday in New York and the NYPD internal affairs division will be investigating the officers involved who have been placed on desk duty.
You can see video footage of the incident here: