An internal NYPD report obtained by the New York Daily News that was prepared soon after the death of Eric Garner -- the Staten Island man who died of an apparent chokehold while under arrest last week -- states he never appeared to be in "great distress" and fails to mention the chokehold at all.
One officer, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, said Garner's condition "did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse.”
The memo's details fly in direct contrast with video recordings of the incident clearly showing Garner shouting at the arresting officers, "I can't breathe! Get off of me!" multiple times.
WARNING: This video may be disturbing to some.
Police say Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was suspected of selling illegal cigarettes at the time. But bystanders have come forth saying Garner never had any cigarettes on him , and that he had just emerged from breaking up a neighborhood fight.
Garner had reportedly been arrested at least 30 times, mainly for selling untaxed cigarettes. In one handwritten complaint against the NYPD, Garner wrote police officers performed a cavity search on the street in which they were "digging his fingers in my rectum in the middle of the street" while people were passing on the street.
"I then told [the officer] that I was fileing [sic] charges for him violating my civil rights, I was then hit with drug charges and told by [the officer] 'that I don't deserve my city job due to the fact that I'm an convicted felon on parole.' (I work for the New York City Park Department," Garner wrote in the lawsuit filed in custody at Rikers Island.
Garner's death is now under investigation, with two officers seen in the video suspended from duty.
One of the officers, Daniel Pantaleo, has been accused of carrying out unlawful, racially motivated arrests over the past two years. The eight-year NYPD veteran has been stripped of his badge and gun.
Four emergency workers have also been put on modified duty, which means they will be unable to respond to 911 calls.
Since Garner's death, officers have been anonymously reacting to the arrest on online police forums including PoliceOne.com. Daily Intelligencer notes that while the comments are not verifiable, sites like PoliceOne.com require formal registration to prove one in fact belongs to a law enforcement agency. The comments vary:
Yes, they'll pay off the "family"...
It's a lot cheaper than a riot...
And therein lies the problem...
The cities of America are held hostage by the strong-arm tactics of the savages
A more accurate headline would be "Non Compliant Fat Bastard Gets Just Due In Resisting Law Enforcement Officers"
Garner's death has sparked intense rallies throughout New York City. During a service at Manhattan's Riverside Church this past Sunday, Rev. Al Sharpton demanded justice.
"What bothers me is that the nation watches a man say 'I can't breathe' and the choking continues, and police surround him and none of them even say, 'Wait a minute, stop! He can't breathe!" Sharpton said before the congregation. "When does your sense of humanity kick in?"
"As an individual who's not an expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me," Mayor Bill de Blasio, who delayed his vacation after Garner's death, told reporters in Italy on Monday.