http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/staten-island-man-dies-puts-choke-hold-article-1.1871486A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.
“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.
Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.
The Staten Island resident was sitting in front of Bay Beauty on Bay St. and Victory Blvd. just before 5 p.m. when two plainclothes cops began questioning him about selling untaxed cigarettes, a video obtained by the Daily News shows.
Ramsey Orta, 22, shot the shocking footage.
“I didn’t do s---!” the 6-foot-4 Garner, wearing a sweaty T-shirt and khaki shorts, told the officers from the 120th Precinct when they approached him. “I was just minding my own business.
“Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!” he yelled.
'He’s the nicest guy. I can’t believe what I saw. That’s no way to do an arrest,' said Douglas, 50, about Garner. Douglas would only give his first name.
Ramsey Orta, 22, who shot the video, tried to intervene, telling the cops his friend had just broken up a fight between three men and had not been selling cigarettes.
But when backup uniformed officers arrived, the cops moved in to cuff Garner, the video shows.
“Don’t touch me, please,” he said.
When Garner refused orders to put his hands behind his back, one of the plainclothes cops, wearing a green T-shirt with a yellow No. 99 on the back, got behind him and put him in a chokehold, the footage shows.
A struggle ensued as three uniformed officers joined in on the arrest, knocking the man to the ground.
He screamed, “I can’t breathe!” six times before he went silent and paramedics were called.
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told The News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”
“They were choking him. He kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe! Get off of me, get off of me!’ and I didn’t hear any more talking after that,” said witness Valencia Griffin, 50, of Staten Island. “He died right there.”