Friday, December 19, 2014

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The Call Blog: Eric Garner's Family To Meet With Federal Investigators

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Two issues will determine the outcome of this investigation. First, was Eric Garner resisting arrest. Second, did he die because of a banned chokehold. We may not know the "official take" on those issues for months. But many New Yorkers have already made up their minds.

The Staten Island District Attorney's office is the lead investigator in the death of Eric Garner. In addition, the NYPD's Internal Affairs division is looking into the actions of several officers who were involved in subduing the 43-year-old for allegedly selling individual cigarettes last week. And tomorrow, Garner's family members are meeting with the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn to push for a federal investigation.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said earlier this week that he met with investigators from the FBI, and he would "not be surprised" if the U.S. Attorney decides to open a civil rights investigation. Violations of federal law occur when it can be shown that police officers used force that was willfully "unreasonable or excessive." What do you say?

What should the punishment be for the officers involved in Eric Garner's death, if any? Should they face criminal charges, internal departmental discipline, and/or federal civil rights charges? Do you think the use of force to subdue Garner was unreasonable or excessive?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Obviously Mr. Garner had prior experience with the police because he held hid hands up where they could see them as not to provoke the officers. Why didn't they try to cuff him while he was standing. I am not anti police but I think they made some quick decisions that were incorrect. Nobody is perfect and maybe they felt threatened by the man's size.

Bob, Flushing, NY

Mr Garner shifted his hands. Is that considered resisting arrest? Most cops are very egotistical. They expect the public to say, "yes sir" and not talk back. I find that when they do not get the respect that one should give a master, they get hot under the collar. I guess what they did wrong was not to stop the camera rolling. How casually they all stood around and watch the man die with no empathy. Who will protect me on the street- uniformed criminals?


Hi John.

The police pounced on the man as though they were praying mantis.

Peggy in Wash Hts.

Where were all the immigrant families(illegal or not) during the rallies?? There should be no such thing as a community within a community. If you chose to reside here in any neighborhood hit hard with racism,poverty and conflicts with the police- YOU MUST PARTICIPATE! There are no excuses!! You run by us with your kids, you cross the street when we walk down the street like we are a criminal- if you cannot step up and realize this effects YOU, too and the hope of every time you are approached you can cry "hate crime" where that person would receive a mandatory sentence: that will NOT work with the NYPD!! THEY CAN AND WILL DO THE SAME THING TO YOU!! BUT you are quick to come to every FREE event!!?? NO MORE!! PARTICIPATE IN EVERY COMMUNITY FUNCTION- NOT JUST THE ONES YOU CAN CAPITALIZE ON!!!"- Thoughts??

Did they notice that his eyes were open and his jaw slacked? He was already dead on that street.


It is very obvious that nothing will happen to the police officer's involved. They are a modern day mob. They think of themselves as brothers and cover for each other, including sometimes even unlawful activities and actions. NY cops care more for themselves than for the public and you can see this on a daily display of unprofessional and pompous attitudes from the subway to their own precincts.

Juan From Queens

What are some these people watching or talking about.. This was total disregard for Thus mans life .. Emt was terrible and those cops were not doing their job properly,


I think the officer who had him in a choke hold should be charged criminally for manslaughter and the other officers around should be charged with being an accessory to murder.

Liz from Harlem

We..american citizens ..of all color..must work together to preserve our civil rights. I understand the work of police is very difficult..but the militarization of the police is becoming a danger to us all. I agree if they had an officer(s) on the beat knowing Mr.Garner this horrible tragedy could have been avoided. Again we all must work together as human beings to maintain our rights.


Completely disgusting. There was no need for the excess use of force on this poor man. As a city worker myself I can say I see all the time city workers over exerting their power. The power trips need to end. Very upsetting. This man was not using any violence towards them. He did not deserve this. They all need to get fired immediately.

brooklyn ny

Being a former police officer all of the individuals should be fired and face charges. Even if Eric is resisting once the cuffs are on the threat is gone And the other officer could have stopped the chokehold and helped the others off him to breathe.

Stephanie From corona

My name is Celia from Harlem N.Y. I feel that all the police officers and paramedics that was involved should be fired and charged with murder. I think this was extremely unfair and sad to this man, his family and also the community. This was murder with no questions asked. No one on the scene did there jobs. I hope someone lays the law down.

It's a shame people are unwilling to discuss that this is absolutely, undoubtedly a race issue. Too bad if it's an uncomfortable subject, the facts are there, the numbers of black men dying, being unfairly incarcerated, are all there. This was not a violent man. It was undeniably excessive force. It was illegal action taken by police and they should be fired for killing an innocent man. There is no such thing as a "race card." This is reality.

Samantha from Forest Hills

Federal investigations should happen. This was a victimless nonviolent crime that was escalated by the police to murder. I think that this is an extreme example of situations that happen all the time by the police that have a lot less press coverage because the end result was not murder. This is not a race issue this is a police department going bad. There are examples all across the city everyday of police abusing power and it needs to stop.

Katie in Brooklyn

No one is playing the race card. Look at the facts, the statistics. It's the same story over and over. New York has become the new Mississippi, when it comes to people of color interfacing with the police. This must stop.

Jackson Heights, NY

I feel and know frist hand the courts are a joke.....they dont care about us....these cops arent the frist or the last out of the nypd....who have hurt or killed a human.....and as in the emt...alot of them are meen...people....cops pick on spanish and black males all the time....they neeed to stop looking for problems....we the people must come togeather spanish black...asain....white ....we must stop been scared of the cops there no one....there just traned dogs for the state....and the d.a.....


There is an elephant in the room, a question no one is asking: Did those officers have probable cause, or other lawful justification to make a lawful arrest?


Let's put emotions aside and gather the facts. Eric Garner broke the law. It was very minor law but still a law. When he refused to be arrested, Police officers used excessive and illegal move to take him down and did not give him proper medical attention when he needed it. We know the problem of those officers but not too many are addressing the fact that too many people simply hate all members of police and resist arrest and think it's justified to do so. Don't fight the system; Work within the system. If you've done nothing wrong, verbally explain it without getting hostile. If they don't listen, don't resist but get a lawyer later. You're not going to gain anything by physically or verbally fighting the cops. And shame on people like Al Sharpton for not spreading these messages to his listeners. You have to work within the system.

Sean from Flushing

This guy has a record so he's not a saint. It's not a race issue. When the officer tried to cuff Gardner flailed his arms. His record was a threat and we also didn't know what might be in his pockets . Why didn't he comply they had a job there a complaint . Maybe if this selling if illegal stuff happened in front of al sharptons house things would be different Yes the officer should receive discipline for the choke hold and supervisor reprimanded The other offices followed protocol We r not doctors and if he was breathing than he was ok When cops get killed it's ok and there is never this much public news Comply with the law and the summons would have been issued Everyone puts on a show cause they want money from the city White or black same thing would have taken place More blacks are in trouble because statistics don't lie they commit more crimes Where are there parents when the schools reach out to then Nowhere Sorry for this mans death but he had a record


Where is the Mayor, Where is the Mayor. It seems Chief Bratton is the Mayor as far as I could see. I never voted for Mayor Bratton. The Mayor got a large vote from the black community and he is ignoring them in a crisis. It's absurd for him to turn his back on this situation. Take a vacation when your not Mayor. You have to be devoted to this position.

Jackson Hts

I found this incident "shameful", according to the Commissioner the "choke hold" was unlawful. I also found it odd that no one gave this man mouth to mouth resuscitation. Even the EMT did not administer Oxygen. Then when they put him on the gurney his hands was still cuffed and they simply through him on the gurney, didn't secure his head or anything. This clearly should be investigated by a Special Investigator, and civil charges should be filed. They literally let this man die without HELP.


For all the people who state this is just a structural and procedural breakdown and not Racial should HONESTLY answer this question. If the RACE of everyone involved were reversed (Though impossible to conceive) how would this Choke hold be viewed?

Derrick in Brooklyn New York

I live in Jamaican Queens, white
officers do not allow us to live in peace.

I agree with AL that this is a humanity issue. What the police did was despicable! We as citizen of this great city must stand against this kind of behaviors from those who are suppose to protect us....just as we would from who would harm us.

Clinton hills

This is just another example of the rampant racism in the NYPD and the EMT's. The majority of the so called officers and emergency workers that participated in this murder where white. They tried to cover up for each other when they knew this man was dead or near death!!! They tried to put on an act and pretend that he was alive!

Geechee from Brownsville.

Why doesn't Always Sharpton stop with that racists card. He needs to understand that the free the slaves over 200 years ago. He needs to just tattoo a money sign on his wrinkle forehead. He's the racist


Commissioner Braton says this is not a race issue as one of your callers said every thing in this city everything in this country and everything in this world is a race issue why are people trying to get away from race there are differences in people and it is race it is what motivates the police department the police are a bunch of renegades and when they see black people they act differently this is a fact


Hey John, can you please play the footage from the nypd officers who were driving a unit down a street the wrong way, then hit a parked car and proceeded to arrest the driver of the parked car (who was black). The officer stated he has a home and a family and wasn't going to let the driver of the parked car "wreck his life or his job"... this NYPD needs a HUGE OVERHAUL..

signed Chase from Astoria

It IS a racial issue and I am white. Disgusting. Those cops killed a human being and should go to jail for it. Why not use a taser if they felt threatened? This has to stop!


Common sense ? The person appears overweight on the recently seen television footage. Why would they place that man in a choke hold?

Kenny from Greenwich Village

First and foremost I send my condolences to the family...I think all parties that was involved should be charged with murder as anyone else ..I don't understand why these people still have the privilege to say they still have a job...stop monkeying around and lay the law down!!!!!


Alec Baldwin rode a bicycle down a one way street and ultimately resisted arrest when police officers attempted to arrest him (He actually threw a tantrum as he's done in he past). He was not choked! He told a judge today that he'd rather pay a fine than apologize to the police officer he disrespected. I did not hear a peep out of PBA president Pat Lynch. It's always about race folks.

Frantz, Brooklyn

Charles from Crown Heights brings out a good point. Someone should have been more attentive to Garner when he said he couldn't breathe. Also, in addition to retraining, more black police officers should be deployed to minority areas. Most wrongful deaths happen when officers are white. They automatically assume that they will be overpowered by men of color so they tend to use more force than necessary.

Washington Heights, New York 10040

My take is that all cops who are under investigation for any type of negligence/crime need to face a harsher punishment. So far all the officer this year and prior years have not been reprimanded in a way that will make them think twice about their behavior. Retraining is not the answer. If they didnt get it right the first round, they most likely arent the second round.

Brenda, SI

I support the call for federal investigation into the death of Eric Gardner.



I'm sad that we are even debating whether or not this was anything less than blatant disregard for human life, and the fact that it was perpetrated by a police officer, is disgusting. Police are public servants. We pay their salaries with our tax dollars, and they are here to serve. Not murder. That man didn't deserve to lose his life. I'm sad and disgusted.


It is expected that the Feds will investigate this incident. I would like to know what percentage of cases like this are found guilty in Federal Court?? From what I know...NOT MANY!! It’s all too political. I would like to see all the elected officials look into changing policy from NYPD to the Court system or not much will change.

Crystal- Red Hook

Dear John,

This nonsense of NYPDs "Slap On A Wrist" punishment is entirely unacceptable! I shall not be fully satisfied until justice is done. Two cops should be send to jail for first degree murder and other cops involved should be charged as contributions to the crime.

Clifton, Staten Island

The Police were doing their job. The perp was resisting arrest. The public should obey the orders of the NYPD. THANK GOD IM RETIRED.

Marty. Ozone Pk. Ret. Lt. NYPD.

John,These officers have to be fired and face criminal charges.if there was no video the pd would report a completely false account!

joey from Staten Island

I think the entire nypd should be monitored by a federal investigator to change and implement different policing tactics.the police should face civil rights charges snd lose their jobs for their disreguard of human life.


It strikes me, seeing the video that males all should be trained to instantly and reflexively react in safe and passive ways for self protection. Kids in school should get role playing lessons in dealing with policemen , how to behave submissively and respectfully for self preservation when dealing with police, who often appear to have extreme issues concerning their own authority.

Julie on the upper west side.

As an African American woman from New York City, when I watch the cell phone video I have visions of the civil rights movement in the sense that there is a police officer CLEARLY doing great harm to an individual that is ABSOLUTELY UNNECESSARY!

It's a disgrace.

Thank you,
Gabrielle H.

If there was no video of the event, at trial, if there was one, or any investigation, witnesses testimony of the event would be taken. Now we have a VIDEO and folks are denying its veracity and/or value. What more will it take for people to realize what happened was unconscionable.

west brighton


All the police officers involved should be suspended for the standard 30 days without pay then placed on modified duty while the investigation proceeds. When the chokehold cop is put before the grand jury and indicted, he will be arrested and then suspended without pay til the trial. I believe all the cops should be brought up on departmental trial where they could likely be fired. Then again, we'll have to see how Bratton handles the internal investigation/trials if he is still around. I don't have much faith in NYPD Internal Affairs.

I never thought I would see a case worse than the Abner Louima case but here it is. Civil rights charges must also be brought against the officer(s).

One more thing. There is no need to retrain the thousands of really great cops in the NYPD.

midtown east

It is very sad, and most unfortunate, that this man died while officers were struggling to apprehend him. But before we all armchair quarterback the mistakes that may have been made by police, if we go overboard in criticism, and punishment, all we are going to do is put our police force in a less receptive condition towards reacting to crime, and apprehension. Trust me, as a New York City Correction Officer who now works for a department that allows the inmates to rule, because it is to easy for an officer to be punished for excessive force, i ask the citizens of New York City: do we want our neighborhoods to be ruled by the very same criminals who now have complete reign the of our entire jail system?

Calle M.
Far Rockaway NY

I say throw the book at all the cops and EMT's involved, bring criminal, internal, federal charges, every kind of charge that can be brought. Eric Garner's civil rights were violated and his death was murder. Maybe someone will finally be held accountable for the senseless death of a black man.

Meryl from Manhattan

I feel that tonight's "The Call" should have been about the breaking, scandalous news about Cuomo's defunct anti-corruption commission. This is a story that could too easily be swept under the rug as we roll toward the weekend.

That said, the Garner story is horrific, and I hope the family gets the ear of every city, state and federal agency that can confirm what happened, get them justice, changes any remnants of the old NYPD culture of darker skin equaling suspicious or dangerous, and can help ensure that we are policed by more officers of color.



The cops and EMS people should already have been arrested, charged with murder and locked up in Rykers until their trial. If found guilty, they should receive 2 times the sentence any civilian would receive, no less than
2 life terms since their jobs are to protect life, not take it.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi John

I'm glad the S.I.D.A. is getting involved in Mr. Garner's case because justice have to prevail for the family, the Rev Al Sharpton said it right when he said "GO TO THE TAPE" because the tape would show the officers used excessive force when arresting him on something as simple as selling loosies. the officers and EMT workers that were involved in the case should get a long jail time and get kicked off the force without pay because they left a helpless man on the sidewalk to die, i thought thwey were supposed to help the citizens of NYC not leave them on the sidewalk to die


Good evening John,

THANK YOU for keeping this in the spot light for someone who can no longer speak for himself.

OMG... THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!! I have tears of joy. I need to say.......THANK YOU to the District Attorney's Office, Internal Affairs Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office. I have faith now each division will see this through. Also, to the two civilians for recording this unspeakable act and turning it over to the media, thank you. As many have said, and I'm in total agreement, those who were involved should be fired immediately and be sued for lawful death. No more badges of brutality!! No second chances, no desk duty and no pension. Each should receive the maximum for MURDER as any other civilian in this city. No exceptions!!!!


Hi John,

Punishment should be no less than 25years 2 life. The choke hold was banned in NYC more than 20 years ago. Cops could have & should have treated him with the same respect they would have treated a white man in a similar situation. He had just broke up a fight & since when is it reasonable 2 choke a human being 2 death 4 selling loose cigarettes on the street?

Springfield Gardens, NY

Hi John,

I don't agree with the family going to the US Attorneys Office in Brooklyn if Al Sharpton is a part of it. If this is such and important case then why is Sharpton making it his business. This meeting is a family matter and not his. We would also like know how the FBI is involved, along with Brooklyn US atty s office also federal civil rights charges are going to be administered. Also Internal affairs plus the commissioner himself and down the chain of command.

I think that this administration did not have a smooth turnover from one to the other and to many people are just changing laws to accommodate certain people because they were not thinking straight when they made promises for their votes. All of this is coming back to bite us all.

The city council is running their own little country there and we are left out in the cold. I'm a tax payer and so I will say whatever need be.

Thank you John,

I don't know what the punishment for any officers who acted with excessive force should be -- isn't that what we have judges, juries, and prosecutors (all of whom will probably be more familiar with every facet of this case than most of us ever will, or would want to be) for? I do believe that an independent investigation is necessary in this case because -- if I recall correctly, and unless something has changed -- the Staten Island district attorney's office is the only one in the city that relies entirely on police officers for its investigative staff.

Upper West Side

The police were acting like a goon squad. They are trying to control by fear and intimidation. Most of them need physcological evals before being put on the street. They act worst then Street Gangs.

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