Friday, December 19, 2014

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The Call Blog: Medical Examiner Rules Eric Garner's Death A Homicide

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With the Medical Examiner's ruling, the question now becomes whether Dan Donovan has the political stomach to bring an indictment on criminal charges. And whether Staten Islanders called to jury duty will have the ability to make an informed decision without outside pressures.

The Medical Examiner issued its report on the death of Eric Garner this afternoon and found the "manner of death" to be homicide. It ruled the cause of death to be from "compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police." In addition, the ME cited contributing conditions as Garner's pre-existing "acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease."

The complete autopsy will now head to the Staten Island District Attorney, federal investigators, and the NYPD's Internal Affairs division. It is still unclear if criminal charges will be filed against the officers who wrestled Garner to the ground while arresting him for allegedly selling individual cigarettes. In a statement, Mayor de Blasio said he extends "my deepest sympathies to the family of Eric Garner, on this day we have received the Medical Examiner’s findings." What do you say?

What is your reaction to the Medical Examiner's ruling? Have the findings changed your opinion on the case? Do you think Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan should move forward with criminal charges against the officers as a result? Or do you feel Eric Garner's pre-existing health conditions should be taken into account?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

The cop must be held accountable! He must be charged for murder because that's what it was plain and brutally and viciously simple.


Its very sad to see the video over and over again.... The individual officer, responsible for his death, was not being tactful by not exercising CPR...The situation could have been handled differently...This is the act of one officer.... It's like no one care for a humans life that day.....and to think there are bigger fish in the five Boro's to fry, then attacking a man selling loose cigarettes...not that I'm saying it's right...These officers have to get the priorities straighten out...

A concern citizen

Cops are facing possible involuntary manslaughter charges. That's about it, because it will be hard to believe that the cops intended to kill Mr. Garner when they took him down.

There will be strong defense arguments as to what degree Mr. Garner's poor medical health contributed to his death. Could he have survived if he were in good health? But one thing we will never know is whether he could have been saved by immediate CPR when he went limp. Bill Bratton needs to order this training for all members to employ before the arrival of EMT's.

Phil from Queens

It is clear to anyone who watches the video of Mr. Garner’s killing that:

He was the victim of a homicide,
He was murdered by 7-8 police officers, all of whom were identified on the video,
The murder was abetted by several EMT workers,
The police officers and EMTs who committed the murder were casual and nonchalant in their manner, as if this is something they do routinely and with impunity,
The criminal actions of the police and EMTs reflect a failure of training, oversight, and management by their superiors, who must also be held responsible for the actions of their underlings.

All of those who are culpable and the managers and superior officers to whom they report must be prosecuted. The only questions are whether they should be charged with murder in the first degree of the second degree, whether the EMTs were accomplices during the murder or after the fact, and whether their superiors should be charged with conspiracy in the murder or merely fired, fined, disciplined and lose their pensions.

New York, NY 10022

Hi John,

So many of us felt it was a homicide from day one. . Police all over the nation beat & kill black people on a regular basis, without it being captured on cell phones or the police being punished which is why it continues. . The killing of Eric Garner was a crime & should be treated as such. No, way should his health have anything to do with those cops murdering him!

Springfield Gardens

The situation between Eric Garner, the multiple cop attack on Eric (1 man) and medics standing by not doing their job was straight up murder of Eric Garner. They are obviously on satan's (the bad guy) side and should be thrown off of their various jobs, penalized and serve time in jail/solitude.. But in the end, they will get theirs.


Hi John,

Criminal charges should be filed against the officers that killed Mr Garner and the EMT workers that left him on the sidewalk to die, it's time for Mayor Diblasio to do some firing starting with Comissioner Bratton on down to the officers and EMT workers that killed Mr Garner he said he couldn't breathe 11 times and no one listened to him . The Staten Island D.A should move with criminal charges against the offcers and EMT workers and possibly jail time the killed a innocent man trying to make a living selling ciggarettes. My prayers go out to the Garner family POLICE BRUTALITY AND RACISM HAVE TO STOP THANK GOD FOR PEOPLE LIKE THE HONORABLE REV AL SHARPTON. All minority people should attend the rally with the Rev Al Sharpton across the bridge.


The mayor should of told sharpton that, Dante would not be a candidate for a choke becayse, he wouldn't have resisted arrest.

Big Paul


The Staten Island District Attorney, Dan Donovan, should file manslaughter charges against the cops who caused the death of Mr. Garner and the EMS who let him lay on the ground and die. He didn't die because of pre-existing conditions. He died because the cops killed him.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi John,

I would still like know what was the reason for these cops to be in that area. Supposedly they had a call about a that was taking place and this Eric Garner told the cops that he tried to break up a fight and yet now they are saying that he was selling loosies. Also where are the cigarettes? If Garner had all of these pre-existing ailments then why would he even get involved. That's the reason he probably didn't want to hassle with the cops. He was already worn out because of the pre-existing confrontation before this one. Eric Garner was waving both hands at the officer and telling him that he was tired of being hassled by them. One would think that after 30 some odd arrests he should have been aware that he was doing something wrong at least after 2 or 3 times. A grown man like should have known better. He is also showing more resistance verbally and pushing towards the officer when they wanted to cuff him and take him in. Each time I see the tape more footage of the beginning is not visible it always looks different to me.

Thank you John,

Good evening John,

My lord. I'm glad the medical examiner's findings is conclusive, but it didn't change my opinion. I saw what everybody else saw and there's no confusion here. Mr. Garner was murdered!!! Whatever health issue(s) Mr. Garner had until this encounter, wasn't enough to keep him from standing on his own two feet, therefore, it shouldn't play any role in his death. This is a clear cut case of police brutality. Those who came into contact with Mr. Garner while he was standing and after he was taken down like a dog, should be fired tomorrow. No more assigned desk duty with full pay. No time off with or without pay. Absolutely no pensions and each one MUST face criminal charges for murder.

Mr. Donova, acquittals is not an option for all involved. You MUST see this through. Think, for a moment, a relatives life as you know it, changed forever this weekend at the hands of NYPD & EMT'S because of (..........................) You fill in the blanks.

Thank you.
Financial District.

On the issue of Mr Gardner, cops must understand when anyone is going to be arrested patience -- is a necessity to avoid an atrocity. They should have told him to turn around and put his hands up against the wall, but they just charged at him. To press his head against the asphault is little regard to human decency. To them is just another day at the beach.


the fact of the matter is that Police NEED to fighting REAL crime, the real problem is we have to many cops with nothing to do these plain clothes cops should have BIGGER assignments than stopping someone they have had constant contact with for selling untaxed cigarettes. If the Police want the community to get involved, they need to demonstrate their commitment by acting like professionals and NOT an armed occupying ARMY

Sunset Park

I'm amazed that Bratton and lynch both don't get should not have to die while being arrested no matter what!!! It's the police attitude that must change...

I blame the police supervisors .. They give the cop on the street there orders.. How eAsy would it be tell them to treat people with respect no matter what..they other problem is the CCRB.. Toothless tiger .. That cop should not have been on the street after 6 complaints...


My name is Izetta, I live in st. George not too far from where Eric was killed. Im glad they ruled it as a homicide. The video clearly speaks for itself, I didn't know having both your hands up in the air was a sign of resisting arrest. The mayor and all these people with power will keep trying protect these officers but the 120 Precint is THE WORST. So thankful for technology and I hope they fry that officer. No desk duty no suspension fire him and arrest him. Thank you


Thank you for your good program

Sharpton divides the city , he is a thug , never forget 2 decades ago , accusing an innocent policeman, he never apologized . Mayor De Blasio(do not care for him) is weak , one term only Now!! Sharpton is on charge of the City , Shame on you ,De Blasio and the wife( I do not recall to see her name on the election bulletin ) must go

miss mayor Bloomberg

thank you

I think that all the police involved with Mr. Garner 's death should be criminally charged. However I fear they will be acquitted if the trial is held on Staten Island.

Susana, Sunset Park

I think the M.E. split the baby in the autopsy report. The report says that the force used, coupled with the man's medical condition, led to his death. He is essentially throwing it to a jury to decide if an indictment and trial is warranted.

Phil from Queens

I find it so sad and tragic. He did not look like he was resisting arrest to me of course I wasnt there, but it was a chokehold He said I cannot breathe so many times. It breaks my heart. I understand cops have a difficult job they keep us safe and im grateful, but this was wrong. My condolences to his family.

Pam in Manhattan

It is definitely homicide; he told them he couldn’t breathe and they didn’t stop. He wasn’t resisting, there was no need to smash his face into the pavement and have that many officers on top of him.

Catie, Hell’s Kitchen

The officers should be arrested and charged like any other criminal.


Only someone representing the PBA and could have the unmitigated gaul to disagree with the medical examiner's findings. The blue wall of silence speaks volumes. The officer who perpetrated this terrible deed should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Thank goodness someone had the good sense to capture this on video. What about similar acts that went unnoticed?

Midtown Manhattan

This was clear cut homicide. If it was a cop killer applying a choke hold and the video tape confirmed would be an open shut case.

Far Rockaway

We all knew that it was murder. The question is, will a cop finally go to jail for murdering a black man? Because we all knew Sean Bell was murdered, and that Ramarly Graham was murdered, but guess what, no one's in jail.

Meryl from Manhattan

Gang up on real bad guys for crying out loud!

Richmond HILL Queens

Today's findings prove that the NYPD killed the man. How is it that a man with a badge, can take a life, and then just say, "Ooops!? A life was taken! Any other citizen would have been taken in cuffs. Officer should be held accountable!


They should all go to jail... They need to learn they can't get away with murder , maybe then the killings might stop... and I agree with the last caller.. why isn't the black cops not being spoke for like thy did for the white cops?????????


It is disrespectful for Pat Lynch to blame Eric Garner's "health issues" as the reason for this horrible death. Eric Garner was killed by the chokehold he was put in by one of the officers. Regardless of a person's weight, if that much pressure it put on a person's neck it will result in death. These officers should be at the very least lose their pensions, but I believe that they will walk away from this incident scott-free. Eric Garner cannot say the same.

Maria - Upper West Side

The police are abusive. I'm Latina & have had horrible experiences with Police officers regardless of race. White, black or Latino, they have this superiority attitude that makes me angry. They think they are better than anyone. They feel powerful & above the law! It's disgusting & troublesome & they are way overdue for a deep check! They murdered Mr. Garner & I am glad the medical examiner declared Garner's death a homicide! Now let's see some justice!


The bottom line is Lynch is, was, and always will be in denial when it comes to Police relations to the black community. Every time we see an unarmed black person get shot, hurt or killed, in Lynch's mind, the Police are justified. Also if you've noticed. The Police have been gradually militarized. Sadly, we as a people never spoke out against it. We as a city need to wake up!

Mike From Morningside

Now that the Medical examiner has rule the choke hold a homicide. His Camila should push for a Bill that Would prosecute any future officer using it


The police clearly used excessive force and that should be addressed, but people shouldn't make this about race. Re: Sharpton's remark about Dante, the mayor should have clarified that Garner was being arrested for an alleged crime, not because he was black.

Tom in Forest Hills

Lots of Folks need to respect themselves and the law as well. I think nyc has become such a hostile environment. One in which the residents feel it's them against NYPD. People need to understand cops are now pursuing quality of life issues which tax payers constantly complain about. At the end of the day resisting arrest is a crime in of itself. Too many New Yorkers are unaware of the laws big and small that people are now being arrested for. No one deserves to be choked... but it's the officers responsibility to handle every situation within the scope of the law themselves. Suing NYPD officers civilly will only lead to many officers resigning and there being a police shortage.


When I was a child police officers were like super stars to me. I had such respect for these uniformed men and women. Today, I teach my child not to go to a police officer if they need help. I teach my daughter to avoid the police. What a shame that is. I am deeply saddened by the excessive force used by the officers involved in this tragedy. The punishment did not fit the crime. Garner did not deserve what happened to him. I am sorry for the life lost and the family members affected. I hope that justice will be served in this case.


Yes I believe there should be criminal charges brought. And, of course, Pat Lynch must stick up for the police that's his job as the president of the union. I understand where he's coming from and it's a dangerous job and I'm grateful to them for doing a very difficult job, but this was wrong. So very wrong. People need justice.

Pam from Manhattan

I wish some of your viewers would stop playing the race card on what happened. The shame is that this could of happened to anyone of us. Don’t try to prove that we are a racist society which we are not!!

Brooklyn Hghts.

Once again too much Testosterone coupled with racism created this result in policing. Add some estrogen in the top ranks of NYPD and community relations.


Yes I agree with the medical examiner's findings, and yes that officer or officers should be charged!! I strongly believe that the paramedic should also be charged!!! Her job is to save or at least try to save lives and by the video that was taken at the seen, she was clearly not in the mood to save any life that day!!

Mr. Garner was unconscious on the floor and no one even attempted to administer CPR.

They did not even have the decency to take the cuffs off him while he was laying dead on the ground..

How long can these cops keep harassing people and keep getting away with it. What happened to the COURTESY, PREFESSIONALISM and RESPECT that these police are supposed to be upholding?

It is just sad that if this does go to trial, I get the feeling that these charges WILL be dropped and these officers will get off scotch free.

Mt. Vernon, NY


None of this is a racial thing. It is a BLUE thing. As soon as they go to the Police Academy and get the "knowledge" from the old timers, they develop an attitude that they are better than anyone in the general public. Take the illegal parking in every neighborhood by the police every night. Take all the reckless driving with no fear of a ticket----they would never receive a ticket from a police colleague.

As far as this case, they need to be shown they are not better than anyone else. If one of us grabbed a person in a choke hold and he subsequently died, we would be charged with murder as should this police officer.

Riverdale, Bronx

The medical examiner's office is correct. It was obvious from the mobile video that excessive force was used in the Garner case and that as a result, someone was killed in the hands of another human being. However, I disagree with most of your viewers/callers. It's easy to make a judgement when you're not there to assess the entire situation so I tend to put myself in the place of a cop responding to the unknown everyday, multiple times a day. But what I find most egregious is the behavior of the EMS workers. They're truly sick and culpable in this situation. Their job is to SAVE people and to jump in, in time of distress. Mr. Garner was obviously in distress and the actions of the EMS workers was negligent and vile. They should definitely be fired and charged with homicide.


The Garner Death is just the hot-topic because of the video. Fact remains that this has gone on for years and will continue. therefore, we in inner city environments see NYPD as the enemy. They don't "serve and protect us," they only "harrass and arrest us."

Simon from Corona Queens

Once again, PBA President Pat Lynch has never met a victim he couldn't blame for his own death. Eric Gardner now joins the ranks of Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Patrick Dorismond: all black men who needlessly died at the hands of New York police officers; and all those officers have now been equally absolved of any blame by Pat Lynch, who apparently thinks no cop has ever committed a crime within the five boroughs. If the uniformed members of the NYPD want to regain the respect of this city, they could a long way by dumping Pat Lynch and electing a new head of the PBA who isn't afraid to admit when a cop has actually done the wrong thing. Admitting that you have a problem, as they say, is the first step to recovery.

Lower East Side

Everyone's missing the key factor.

**Pay attention**
1.The officer used two types of illegal choke holds. One with his right arm under Mr. Gardner right arm pit (for the takedown)

2. The second illegal choke hold came once Mr. Gardner was on the ground. The officer removed his right arm from under Mr. Gardner's armpit and placed it over Mr. Gardner's right SHOULDER in a locking position (MURDER).

That second choke was intentional, and came at a time when Mr. Gardner was no longer in position to resist. That's murder.

Look at the entire footage.




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