Eric Garner’s wrongful death suit with the NYPD has been settled for a little over $5 million and is closed. However, New York Police Department union attorneys are now implying that Eric Garner’s obesity contributed to his death five years ago, not Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s chokehold, which strangled him.
Attorney Stuart London, who represented Pantaleo, told the court that his client should not be held accountable for his death, because Eric Garner “died from being morbidly obese.”
London, who was also lead counsel for police on the case, continued deflecting Daniel Pantaleo’s role, adding, “He [Eric Garner] was a ticking time bomb that resisted arrest. If he was put in a bear hug, it would have been the same outcome.”
A bear hug is a hold where the arms are wrapped around either the person’s thighs, chest or midsection and one or both arms are pinned to the other person’s body. The autopsy report stated his death was triggered by an asthma attack brought on by being in a chokehold, which compressed his throat.
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Stuart London is attempting to use the dismissive and illogical argument about the hold to save his client’s job. To date, there have been no real repercussions against Pantaleo with reference to Garner’s death. Prosecutors failed to charge him with a crime and he has continued to earn his cushy salary while on desk duty.
Chokeholds have been banned by NYPD since 1993. Although the hold has been banned for over 25 years, complaints against New York police officers using the hold has risen.
This is simply a copout, no pun intended, to shift responsibility from the NYPD’s abusive and racist antics to the victims. It is completely absurd.
The implication of Eric Garner’s death being labeled a “suicide” because of his obesity is more racist rhetoric from police officers and their representatives who should know better.
Although it is highly unlikely Daniel Pantaleo will lose his job, the NYPD still should be placed under heavy scrutiny by city leaders and the people, who it is paid to “protect and serve.”