Choose Your City
Change City

VIDEO: Questions of excessive force ongoing in Eric Garner investigation

Cell phone video taken by witnesses during Eric Garner's arrest on Thursday show the results of police allegedly placed him in a chokehold.

WARNING: Disturbing images and explicit language.

Cell phone video taken by a witness during Staten Island man Eric Garner's arrest on Thursday show the results of a police officer allegedly placing him in a chokehold.


New video released on YouTube by a newly created user named "Sylon R" shows Garner on the ground and unresponsive to both police and emergency workers who arrive about four minutes into the video. It is unclear how long Garner was on the floor by that time.

The arresting officer who was show in previous video to place Garner in what Police Commissioner Bill Bratton described as a chokehold can be seen in different shots of the video, waving at the camera while Garner is taken away in a stretcher at around 6 minutes and 55 seconds.

The original video showing the arrest, published by the New York Daily News, showed Officer Daniel Pantaleo in a green T-shirt and shorts coming up from behind Garner and jumping on his back to subdue him.

Pantaleo and a second officer have since been placed in modified desk duty, with Pantaleo forced to turn over his badge and shield.

While chokeholds are expressly banned by the police handbook — which requires minimum necessary appropriate non-lethal methods —the investigation by police and distractor attorney will likely focus on whether or not the officer's move was excessive.

Eugene O'Donnell, professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former police academy instructor called Garner's death over an alleged loose cigarette "an absolute tragedy."

But someone people, he said, want there to be a magic formula or touch for police to use on people who don't want to be arrested.

"There isn't," he said, explaining that all force comes with risk.

"It's really hard to figure out what the right amount of force to use," O'Donnell added, and that despite the preponderance of surveillance video that police don't have the luxury of a video analysis at the time of an arrest.

That doesn't mean, however, that Garner's death isn't a watershed moment for the department. O'Donnell said top brass should use it as a moment to better train police on arrest procedure and to decrease the need for street encounters.

"When talk doesn't work, when de-escalation doesn't work, what then?" he asked. "They need to train the cops on the 'what then.'"

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter@chestersoria

You Might Also Like