Originally published on December 5, 2014, at NationofChange.org
Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Wednesday that the Justice Department will conduct an investigation into the death of Eric Garner after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the NYPD officer responsible for using a banned chokehold resulting in Garner’s death. Garner is one of at least nine unarmed black people killed by police in recent months. To date, no officers have been charged with the deaths.
Around 4:45pm on July 17, Eric Garner and his friend, Ramsey Orta, were discussing where to eat dinner when a fight erupted nearby. After Garner assisted in breaking up the fight, NYPD Officer Justin Damico approached Garner and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. Orta pulled out his phone and began recording the incident on video.
As Garner argued with Damico, Officer Daniel Pantaleo approached Garner from behind and attempted to grab his wrists. After Garner held his arms up in a nonthreatening manner and told the officers not to touch him, Pantaleo immediately placed Garner in a chokehold even though the maneuver has been banned by the department since 1993.