Eric Garner Biography-Everything You Need To Know About Eric Garner

Eric Garner Biography–Everything You Need To Know About Eric Garner

Eric garner was born on September 15th, 1970 in New York City, New York. His mother was a subway operator. He worked as a mechanic and also in the city’s horticulture department for several years before he started having health problems which forced him to quit. His health problems include asthma, sleep apnea, and complications from diabetes. He had a wife and six children. He was popularly known in the community as a gentle giant.

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He was arrested over thirty times in his life, mostly for lower level offences such as driving without license, marijuana possession and selling untaxed cigarettes.


On July 17th, 2014, Eric garner died in Staten Island, New York city, after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, put him in a chokehold or headlock for fifteen seconds while arresting him. The filming of the incident brought police brutality into public awareness. The coking death of Eric Garner on video in 2014 helped bring the debate on interactions between white police officers and unharmed African Americans the national forefront.

On that faithful day, the NYPD officer approached on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. After Garner told the police that he was tired of being harassed and that he was not selling untaxed cigarettes, the officers wanted to arrest Garner. When Officer Daniel Pantaleo tried to take Garner’s wrist behind his back, Garner pulled his arm away. Pantaleo put his arm around Garner’s neck and took him down onto the ground. After Pantaleo removed his arm from Garners neck he pushed the side of Garner’s face into the ground while four other officers moved to restrain Garner, who repeatedly said “I can’t breathe” eleven times while lying facing down on the side walk. After this he lost consciousness, officers turned him onto his side to ease his breathing. Garner remained lying on the sidewalk for over seven minutes while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive. The officers and emergency medical technicians did not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Garner at the scene; according to the spokesperson for the PBA, this was because they believed that Garner was breathing and that it would be improper to perform CPR on anyone who is still breathing. He (Garner) was pronounced dead at the Richmond University Hospital one hour later.

The police extensively argued that Garner was resisting arrest, but the chokehold used by Pantaleo was cited as a ‘dangerous maneuver’ by the NYPD and had been officially banned since 1993.

Pantaleo totally denied choking Garner. According to his lawyer (Pantaleo’s), a subsequent internal report from NYPD chief surgeon Eli Klienman, completed at the request of NYPD internal affairs Bureau, found that Pantaleo did not put Garner into a chokehold, and that Garner’s pre- existing health conditions contributed to his death.

However, the New York City Medical Examiner Doctor Floriana Persechino disagreed, stating that Garner died of an asthma attack brought on him by a chokehold and a lethal series of events. This conclusion was confirmed by an independent autopsy which found hemorrhaging around Garner’s neck. The NYPD internal affairs enquiry also determined that Pantaleo used a chokehold and also recommended disciplinary charges which were never filed by the department. The medical examiner ruled Garner’s dead as a homicide. A homicide is said to be a death caused by the intentional actions of another person or persons, which is not necessarily an intentional death or a criminal death.

On December 3rd, 2014, the Richmond County grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo. On the same day, the United States department of justice announced that it would conduct an independent investigation. The above events stirred public protests and rallies, with charges of police brutality made by protesters.

By December 28, 2014, at least fifty protests had been held nationwide for Garner. On July 13, 2015, an out of court settlement was announced in which the city of New York was to pay Garner’s family the sum of $5.9 million.