Wednesday 22 October 2014

Camera captures man's death during New York arrest

Video appears to show police officer putting his arm around Eric Garner's neck with Garner complaining that he cannot breathe

Published 19/07/2014 | 14:44

A man has died during an arrest in New York during which a police officer was captured on an amateur camera appearing to put his arm around his neck.

Eric Garner, 43, died outside a beauty salon in Staten Island.

He had a heart attack as he struggled with officers trying to arrest him on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes, police said.

Partial video of the confrontation obtained by the New York Daily News shows an officer placing what appears to be a choke hold on the 6ft 3, 25st man who can be heard complaining that he cannot breathe.

Four police officers help bring the man down and he apparently loses conciousness.

The video shows the officer who apparently choked Mr Garner using his hands to push Mr Garner's face into the sidewalk.

"We have a responsibility to keep every New Yorker safe, and that includes when individuals are in custody of the NYPD," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

Ramsey Orta, 22, shot the video posted by the newspaper. He told The Associated Press on Friday that he was sitting with Mr Garner and discussing weekend plans before the confrontation with police.

Mr Garner had just broken up a fight between two other men when the police approached him, claiming they'd observed him selling loose cigarettes, Orta said.

"Before they even grabbed him, he told them he wasn't feeling good and that's why I pulled the camera out and started recording," said Orta, adding that Mr Garner was asthmatic. "They could've just hopped out on the guys who were fighting, but they didn't bother to ask. They just jumped straight on him."

Mr Garner has been arrested 31 times since 1988 on charges such as drug possession, selling untaxed cigarettes and assault, police said. He was last arrested in May for selling untaxed cigarettes, court records show. Since 2009, he was arrested nine different times for selling such cigarettes, police said.

In the video Mr Garner shouts that he hasn't done anything wrong.

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