Eric Garner Death Ruled A Homicide
Mourners gather at the funeral service for Eric Garner at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn New York, July 23, 2014. Family members gathered on Wednesday evening for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him in New York City where the death has sparked outrage and a promise to reform police training. Reuters

Eric Graner’s death became a hot topic on Twitter within hours of the New York City medical examiner ruling Friday that his chokehold death at the hands of the New York City Police Department was a homicide. Users expressed their support for the deceased Garner and his family by participating in the hashtag conversations #EricGarner and #JusticeforEricGarner, with others condemning the police department for Garner’s death via the #myNYPD topic.

The medical examiner ruled that NYPD’s choking of Garner, which was caught on video -- infuriating millions of people -- was the definitive cause of the 43-year-old father’s death on July 17.

Garner’s acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease were contributing factors in his death, the medical examiner ruled, according to NBC News New York. The New York City Police Department had no immediate comment on the announcement Friday.

“We all have a responsibility to work together to heal the wounds from decades of mistrust and create a culture where the police department and the communities they protect respect each other -- and that’s a responsibility [Police] commissioner Bratton and I take very seriously,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement after the homicide ruling. “I’ve said that we would continue to make changes, and we will. As Mayor, I remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the proper reforms are enacted to ensure that this won’t happen again.”

Garner was allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island last month when NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. Video of the incident shows Garner pleading with Pantaleo and the other officers, telling them he is unable to breathe. Pantaleo and Officer Justin Damico, who was also involved in the incident, were forced to turn in their guns and badges and moved to desk duty.

“Watching the Garner video, I was disturbed not just by what might prove to be a banned chokehold,” one high-ranking cop told the New York Daily News when outrage went viral along with the video, “but that Pantaleo grabbed him from behind and dragged him backwards. Right in front of a plate glass window! That he bangs into. Both of them could have crashed through that window and both could have gotten killed. Where is the mind-set in that?”