Tears were streaming inside an NYPD trial room as graphic autopsy photos of Eric Garner were shown in the disciplinary trial of officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused of placing Garner in a banned chokehold before his death.
"I wasn't going to be able to sit there and look at those photos of my child that they had to dissect because a man has murdered him,” Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s Mother, said outside the Police Headquarters on Wednesday.
One of Garner's daughters remained and wiped while his mother waited in the hallway.
"I didn't want to have a break down in front of everyone because if I had viewed those photos, that’s exactly what would have happened," Carr said.
Doctor Floriana Persechino, a city medical examiner, testified that Pantaleo placed Garner in a chokehold and that it caused a lethal sequence of events that led to Garner’s death.
She said she based her conclusion on video of the confrontation and evidence of hemorrhaging in Garner's neck.
"The chokehold would have compressed the neck, compressed his airway making it difficult to breathe," the medical examiner said.
She said the chokehold caused a fatal asthma attack and that contributing factors in Garner's death included heart disease, and the prone position he was placed in, which made it even more difficult for him to breathe because of his obesity.
"That expert recognized by the judge in the court declared that Eric Garner died as a result of a chokehold,” said Reverend John Foy, who joined Gwen Carr outside the courtroom.
Pantaleo was trying to handcuff Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, something the Staten Island man vehemently denied.
Pantaleo's defense team says their expert will refute the medical examiner's findings and that Garner's poor health made him a ticking time bomb.
"The ME said asthma attack and the asthma attack is triggered by stress,” said defense attorney Stuart London. “And had he merely accepted the summons there would have been no stress at all. He brought it on by his own actions."
The defense is expected to start its case now by calling several officers to the stand, including those who were with Pantaleo when he tried to arrest Garner.
It's not clear if Pantaleo himself will testify in this disciplinary trial that could lead to his firing. A grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges.