On Thursday, Eric Garner, 43, was heard crying out in desperation saying, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” as a Staten Island police officer placed him in a chokehold and three others helped to take him to the ground moments before he died.
A video of the incident shows Garner speaking with police saying “a fight breaks, and I stopped it and you want to come up on me? I didn’t do nothing.”
Garner can also be heard repeatedly saying “every time you see me, you want to mess with me” and “I did not sell nothing” while begging to be left alone.
By the end of the nearly three-minute video, Garner, who has asthma, had been placed in a chokehold and taken to the ground right before he stopped breathing.
A man then told the person recording the incident and other onlookers to leave the scene.
His wife, Esaw, knew no details about his death until she went to the hospital to identify his body. She spoke to New York Daily News saying, “When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time.”
Mrs. Garner later spoke with a detective from NYPD’s Internal Affairs Division, who reportedly told her that his office was involved because “there is wrongdoing," according to New York Daily News.
Garner allegedly had a history of selling untaxed cigarettes and police were moving in to arrest him after supposedly seeing him sell the tobacco products on Bay Street.
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(Photo: courtesy NY Daily News)