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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Staten Island Gentle Giant, Eric Garner, Killed by NYPD (Video)

Image Source:  The Daily News
Arkansas Police Accountability Project

New York City police officers killed a man Thursday after he broke up a fight between two other men. The cops suspected him of selling untaxed cigarettes, so they will likely claim that the violent escalation and killing of this man, who has been described by family and friends as a "gentle giant' was justified.

The New York Daily News obtained exclusive video of the incident, which shows Staten Island man Eric Garner, 43, begging officers to let him breathe as he lies on the ground helpless.
Now, his family is demanding accountability from the NYPD.
Police said Garner, who was a married father of six children, died of a heart attack during the arrest, according to The Associated Press. The NYPD said Garner had been seen selling untaxed cigarettes, and that he had been arrested before for the same offense.
In the video, Garner denied the allegations and asked a plainclothes officer why he was stopped.
“Every time you see me you want to mess with me," Garner told cops in the video. "I’m tired of it. It stops today!”
When Garner refused to put his hands behind his back, and asked one officer not to touch him, two others moved in to make the arrest.
Video shows at least one officer putting Garner in a chokehold and slamming him on the ground.
Garner can be heard screaming "I can't breathe, I can't breathe!" before going quiet.
Multiple witnesses to the death expressed anger at the NYPD.
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” 22-year-old Ramsey Orta, who took the video, told The Daily News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.' He wasn’t OK.”
Another witness said Garner was "absolutely not selling cigarettes," Staten Island Live reported.
Those who knew Garner described him as a "gentle giant" and "a big teddy bear," according to the publication. His family members, including his wife Esaw Garner, said her husband suffered from chronic asthma.
Police told The AP that an investigation into his death is ongoing. The NYPD said Garner "took a fighting stance" and "absolutely resisted arrest."
In 1993, then-Commisioner Ray Kelly banned the use of chokeholds by officers, the New York Times reported.
More from a 2004 NYPD Patrol Guide:
"Members of the New York City Police Department will NOT use chokeholds. A chokehold shall include, but is not limited to, any pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air."
At a memorial for Garner Thursday night, family members, friends, and supporters asked for justice.
"Is this cop still going to be on the force?" one woman asked SI Live. "Is this cop still going to be able to do this to somebody else?"
The increase in police brutality in America is a frightening reality.  In the last decade alone the number of people murdered by police in America has reached 5,000. According to the CATO Institute, you are now 8 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than a terrorist.  What can we do about it?  Educate ourselves and get involved. 

Arkansas Police Accountability Project is seeking volunteers who care about the victims of police violence. We do not "hate" cops.  We want to help improve the current system to hold police accountable and restore confidence in those who are charged with the tremendous responsibility of keeping us safe.  We highlight the achievements of police officers who engage in positive policing activities, who do not violate our rights, who are willing to break the Blue Code of Silence, and who only use violence as a last resort  in accordance with the principle of non aggression.  We also highlight abuses of power and police brutality to shine a light in the darkness in an effort to promote transparency and accountability.  That which is hidden in the darkness can be revealed only when light shines on it.  We value life and the principle of non-aggression.  We do not tolerate anyone who wishes harm to the men and women who serve in law enforcement.  Many of them are victims of a flawed system.  We are interested in volunteers who want make the world a better place for everyone. If interested, please send us a private message on Facebook.

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