A Staten Island man died Thursday after New York City police put him in a chokehold and slammed his head on the ground during his arrest, all of which was taped on video.
The New York Daily News posted the exclusive video of police arresting Eric Garner. In the video, officers are seen putting the 43-year-old man in a chokehold and knocking him to the ground while he screamed that he couldn’t breathe.
Garner, who was asthmatic, told police to let him breathe, but officers had him pinned to the ground and slammed his head.
The Associated Press reported that Garner, who was married and had six children, died of a heart attack during the arrest. An NYPD spokesman said he “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died” at Richmond University Medical Center.
Garner was being arrested, according to authorities, for selling untaxed cigarettes — an offense he was arrested for previously.
The man’s family wants the NYPD held accountable for his death.
Police told the AP that they are investigating his death, but Garner "took a fighting stance" and "absolutely resisted arrest."
In the video recorded on Thursday, Garner is seen asking an officer in plainclothes why he was stopped and denied allegations he was doing anything wrong.
“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me," Garner said. "I’m tired of it. It stops today!”
Ramsey Orta, 22, who recorded the video, told police the victim was not selling cigarettes and rather just broke up a fight on the street.
Garner asked one officer not to touch him and refused to put his hands behind his back to be cuffed. Two officers then arrested Garner, one putting him in a chokehold and slamming him to the ground.
“I can't breathe, I can't breathe!" Garner screamed six times and then went quiet. Paramedics were called to the scene.
“They jumped him and they were choking him. He was foaming at the mouth,” Orta told the Daily News. “And that’s it, he was done. The cops were saying, ‘No, he’s OK, he’s OK.” He wasn’t OK.”
Staten Island Live said those who knew Garner called him as a "gentle giant" and "a big teddy bear.”
“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” Garner’s wife, Esaw, told The Daily News.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio released a statement about Garner’s death, assuring it will be investigated.
"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Garner, who died yesterday afternoon while being placed in police custody,” the statement read. “We have a responsibility to keep every New Yorker safe, and that includes when individuals are in custody of the NYPD. That is a responsibility that Police Commissioner [Bill] Bratton and I take very seriously. We are harnessing all resources available to the city to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the circumstances of this tragic incident. The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is working closely with the Office of the Richmond County District Attorney, which is leading this investigation."
NYPD Internal Affairs officers launched an investigation Thursday night, The Daily News reported.