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Eric Garner death leads to modified duty for 2 NYPD officers, 4 FDNY volunteers

Fallout after the death of a Staten Island man while in police custody carried into the weekend as officers and emergency workers were reassigned.

eric garner nypd police chokehold staten island Community members in Staten Island and the other four boroughs marched on Saturday to demand justice for what they say was excessive force that led ot the death of Eric Garner on Thursday.
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

Fallout after the death of a Staten Island man while in police custody carried into the weekend as officers and responding emergency workers were reassigned while the city continues its investigation.

The incident sent local leaders and community members into a tailspin of questions about the Police Department's reaction to Eric Garner allegedly selling untaxed, loose, cigarettes from a street corner.

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Two police officers and four volunteer emergency workers who responded to the scene on Thursday after cops subdued 43-year-old Eric Garner on Thursday with what Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said last week appeared to be a chokehold.

Chokeholds have been banned as practice by police for 20 years, and the Civilian Complaint Review Board — which investigates public complaints about police — said it would undertake an investigation into the 1,022 chokehold allegations reported between 2009 and 2013 and of which only nine were substantiated. Fifty eight chokehold incidents were reported in 2014.

Investigators identified Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an 8-year veteran of the force, on Saturday as the plainclothes cop shown to have put his arm around the 350-pound Garner's neck.

Pantaleo, who was reassigned to desk duty, had his badge and gun taken away as probes by the district attorney and internal affairs continue. A second, 4-year member of the department had not yet been identified, was also put on desk duty but was allowed to keep his badge and gun.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association decried Pantaleo's reassignment, calling it an "unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction for political reasons."

On Sunday, Fire Department officials confirmed four volunteer emergency workers were put on desk duty while the department undergoes its own investigation. The two EMTs and two paramedics are employed through the Richmond University Medical Center.

eric garner nypd police chokehold staten island The Rev. Al Sharpton, who hosted the alleged victim Eric Garner's wife at a rally in Harlem on Saturday, preached from Riverside Church on Sunday and reminded congregants of Garner's final reported words: "I can't breathe."
Credit: Bess Adler/Metro

Over the weekend, community leaders and advocates rallied in Staten Island for full investigations into Garner's death.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who hosted Garner's wife at a rally in Harlem on Saturday, preached from Riverside Church on Sunday and reminded congregants of Garner's final reported words: "I can't breathe."

“Even if police procedure doesn’t kick in, when does your sense of humanity kick in?” Sharpton said.

The firebrand reverend marched through Staten Island on Saturday, where resident Al Jones said he hoped some good comes from Garner's death.

"It can't happen again," Jones said. "It is so important for this to be made an example of."

A funeral service for Garner is scheduled for Wednesday at Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

 
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