On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in Staten Island, New York City, after a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer put him in what has been described as a chokehold for about 15 to 19 seconds while arresting him. The New York City Medical Examiners Office attributed Garners death to a combination of a chokehold, compression of his chest, and poor health. NYPD policy prohibits the use of chokeholds.
NYPD officers approached Garner on suspicion of selling loosies (single cigarettes) from packs without tax stamps. After Garner told the police that he was tired of being harassed and that he was not selling cigarettes, the officers went to arrest Garner. When officer Daniel Pantaleo tried to take Garners wrist behind his back, Garner pulled his arms away. Pantaleo then put his arm around Garners neck and took him down onto the ground. After Pantaleo removed his arm from Garners neck, he pushed the side of Garners face into the ground while four officers moved to restrain Garner, who repeated I cant breathe eleven times while lying facedown on the sidewalk. After Garner lost consciousness, officers turned him onto his side to ease his breathing. Garner remained lying on the sidewalk for seven minutes while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive. The officers and EMTs did not perform CPR on Garner at the scene; according to a spokesman for the PBA, this was because they believed that Garner was breathing and that it would be improper to perform CPR on someone who was still breathing. He was pronounced dead at the hospital approximately one hour later.
The medical examiner concluded that Garner was killed by compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police. No damage to Garners windpipe or neck bones was found. The medical examiner ruled Garners death a homicide. According to the medical examiners definition, a homicide is a death caused by the intentional actions of another person or persons, which is not necessarily an