Peter King Says Eric Garner Would Not Have Died From Chokehold Were He Not Obese

12/03/2014 09:23 pm ET | Updated Dec 03, 2014
  • Sam Levine Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on Wednesday that if Eric Garner had been healthier, he would not have died after a police officer placed him in a chokehold.

"If he had not had asthma, and a heart condition and was so obese, almost definitely he would not have died from this," King told CNN's Wolf Blitzer during an interview.

Even though video captured Garner saying that he couldn't breathe as officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold and wrestled him to the ground, King said that "police had no reason to know that he was in serious condition."

"The fact is if you can't breathe, you can't talk," King said. "If you've ever seen anyone resisting arrest, I've seen it, and it's been white guys, and they're always saying, 'You're breaking my arm, you're choking me, you're doing this,' police hear this all the time."

In August, the New York City medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide caused by compression to his neck and chest, in addition to the way that he was positioned on the ground as he was arrested. The medical examiner also determined that Garner's asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease contributed to his death.

King added that there "was not a hint" that anyone used any racial epithets, and that if Garner were a "350-pound white guy, he would have been treated the same."

Earlier on Wednesday, King took to Twitter to praise a grand jury's decision not to indict Pantaleo, saying that it had done justice and refused to yield to outside pressure.


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