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NYPD "chokehold case" ruled a homicide by medical examiner
From news 8/1/14:

"NYPD chokehold death ruled a homicide

Aug 1st 2014 6:15PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York City medical examiner ruled Friday that a police officer's chokehold caused the death of a man whose videotaped arrest and final pleas of "I can't breathe!" sparked outrage and led to the announcement of a complete overhaul of use-of-force training for the nation's largest police force. Eric Garner, 43, a black man whose confrontation with a white police officer has prompted calls by the Rev. Al Sharpton for federal prosecution, was killed by neck compressions from the chokehold as well as "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police," said medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer. Asthma, heart disease and obesity were contributing factors in the death of Garner, a 6-foot-3, 350-pound father of six, she said.

The finding increases the likelihood that the case will be presented to a grand jury to determine whether Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who placed Garner in the chokehold, or any other officers involved in the confrontation will face criminal charges. Pantaleo's attorney, Stuart London, declined to comment Friday. Garner's wife, Esaw, told the Daily News, "Thank God the truth is finally out." Mayor Bill de Blasio extended his sympathies to Garner's family in a statement and pledged to continue repairing the relationship between minority communities and the NYPD. "I've said that we would make change, and we will," he said.

Partial video of the July 17 confrontation shows an officer placing a chokehold on Garner, who was being arrested for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes. He then apparently loses consciousness. Chokeholds are prohibited by the New York Police Department. Prosecutors on Staten Island, the borough where the confrontation occurred, are investigating. A spokesman for Daniel Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney, said prosecutors were still investigating the death and awaited a full autopsy report and death certificate from the medical examiner. Donovan will have to determine whether to empanel a grand jury and charge officers in the death of Garner.

Federal officials are monitoring the progress of the New York investigation, Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said, adding that the department has not begun its own inquiry into the death. In a statement, police Commissioner Bill Bratton said officials were aware of the medical examiner's findings and said the department is cooperating with prosecutors. He has said the NYPD's use-of-force training is lacking, pledged to retrain all 35,000 officers and dispatched a team to Los Angeles to develop a state-of-the-art program.

Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge pending the investigation, and another was placed on desk duty. Two paramedics and two EMTs were suspended without pay. Patrick Lynch, president of the powerful Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, expressed his sympathies to Garner's family in a statement but noted that Garner "was a man with serious health problems." "We believe, however, that if he had not resisted the lawful order of the police officers placing him under arrest, this tragedy would not have occurred," he said.

Garner's family will join Sharpton on Saturday to address the medical examiner's ruling, a spokeswoman said. Ramsey Orta, 22, a friend of Garner's who videotaped his struggle with police, said in an interview that the medical examiner's ruling wasn't surprising. "I knew that was the cause because I saw it," he said. "Now somebody should get charged." "


Note the presence of the video footage that prevented the ME from declaring some other cause of death. Note also that "chokeholds" are "prohibited" at NYPD, even on such serious criminals as guys that are selling loose untaxed cigarettes. I hope the ensuing grand jury investigation isn't a whitewash of the event.
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
The police tackling and wrestling people to the ground routine is ridiculous in the first place. They murdered this guy with it.
1] He was not resisting arrest and would have submitted to handcuffing if only told to.
2] This was NOT necessary - but police just love to be tough - especially white police to blacks.
3] Despite this ruling by the coroner, I doubt the policeman will spend a day in jail for murder.
4] This man was murdered for suspected sale of illegal cigarettes!....... [others have died at the hands of the police for suspected traffic violations, such as not stopping for a stop sign while black].
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Eric Garner said "This is going to stop right now" when complaining about his police harassment. I don't know if he was selling loose cigarettes or not. Pretty strict punishment for a nation built on throwing tea into Boston Harbor because of taxation without representation.

When Garner protested he couldn't breath he was choke-holded while another cop pushed his head into the pavement anyway. While he lay dying the cops moronically left him cuffed and stood there staring at him instead of trying to save his life. The system has shown itself for what it is well in this case.

Man who shot NYC chokehold video has been arrested on unrelated gun charges

NEW YORK (AP) - The man who recorded video of a fatal police chokehold in New York City has been arrested on gun charges, police said Sunday. Police said 22-year-old Ramsey Orta was arrested Saturday night on Staten Island, a few blocks from where officers confronted his friend Eric Garner on July 17. Orta, whose recording of an officer restraining Garner with a chokehold fueled outcry against the police, is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Police said Orta had a previous weapon conviction that prohibited him from possessing a firearm. He is due in court this month on robbery charges stemming from a May arrest and an assault charge from an arrest three days before Garner's death, according to court records. Orta's latest arrest came a day after the city's medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide caused by the officer's chokehold, as well as the compression of his chest and prone positioning "during physical restraint by police."

Patrick Lynch, the president of the city's largest police union, described the encounter between Garner and police as "a tragedy" but said Orta's arrest "only underscores the dangers that brought police officers to respond to a chronic crime condition" in Staten Island's Tompkinsville community. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who called Orta to the lectern at Garner's funeral and said the city should "thank God" he was there to record video "when the police and EMS failed us," called the arrest irrelevant. "No one is questioning the validity of the tape, and the medical examiner has validated it," Sharpton said Sunday. Police said plainclothes officers from a Staten Island narcotics unit saw Orta stuff a silver-colored, .25-caliber handgun into a 17-year-old female companion's waistband after they emerged from a brief stop at the Hotel Richmond. Police called the location, on Central Avenue, a "known drug prone location."

The unloaded semi-automatic weapon recovered was reported stolen in Michigan in 2007, police said. Officers charged the 17-year-old with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana. Police said Orta was in a hospital Sunday for treatment of a medical condition. No details were available. It was not immediately clear if Orta or the 17-year-old had lawyers. An attorney representing Orta in the robbery case did not return a telephone message.

Sharpton and Garner's widow, Esaw Garner, have called for Staten Island prosecutors to charge the officers involved in his death or turn the case over to federal authorities. The officer who placed Garner in the chokehold was stripped of his gun and badge pending the investigation. Another officer was placed on desk duty. Two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians were suspended without pay. Orta echoed the call for arrest in Garner's death after hearing the medical examiner's ruling Friday. "I knew that was the cause because I saw it," he said. "Now somebody should get charged."
"All that is necessary for tyranny to succeed is for good men to do nothing." (unknown)

James Tracy: "There is sometimes an undue amount of paranoia among some conspiracy researchers that can contribute to flawed observations and analysis."

Gary Cornwell (Dept. Chief Counsel HSCA): "A fact merely marks the point at which we have agreed to let investigation cease."

Alan Ford: "Just because you believe it, that doesn't make it so."
AARON MATÉ: Homicidethat's what a medical examiner ruled in the death of Eric Garner. On July 17th, police in Staten Island placed Garner, an African-American father of six, in a chokehold after they confronted him for selling single cigarettes, known as "loosies." Graphic video of the incident shows an officer pulling Garner to the ground by the neck and then holding his head against the pavement. He repeatedly says he cannot breathe.
POLICE OFFICER 1: Put your hand behind your head!
ERIC GARNER: I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I can't breathe!
RAMSEY ORTA: Once again, police beating up on people.
POLICE OFFICER 2: Back up. Back up and get on those steps.
AMY GOODMAN: Eric Garner's family and supporters have called for criminal charges against the officer and a federal civil rights investigation. Chokeholds like the one that killed Eric Garner have been banned under the NYPD's excessive force guidelines for more than two decades. But today New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board will meet to address hundreds of chokehold complaints against officers in recent years.
AARON MATÉ: Well, just one day after Garner's death was ruled a homicide, the man who filmed his death was arrested on weapons charges. Ramsey Orta says he's been harassed by police since his video emerged. All of this has raised the question of what right citizens have to film police officers on the job to ensure accountability.
AMY GOODMAN: For more, we're joined by two mothers whose sons were killed by the New York City Police Department. Iris Baez's son, Anthony Baez, died December 21st, 1994, after an officer placed him in a chokehold. The officer was acquitted of criminally negligent homicide but later convicted on federal civil rights charges and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. Joining us from Washington, D.C., Kadiatou Diallo. Her son, Amadou Diallo, was killed February 4th, 1999, when police fired 41 bullets at him, striking him 19 times, as he stood outside his apartment reaching for his wallet for his keys. The officers were acquitted of murder charges. Both Diallo and Baez have been supporting Eric Garner's family since his death.
We're also joined by Norman Siegel, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union for 15 years, now in private practice. He's representing Debra Goodman, a retired legal secretary who filed a lawsuit against the City of New York after she was arrested for filming as police officers watched emergency medical technicians speak with a woman in a wheelchair.
We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Norman Siegel, I want to start with you, because it is this story of the videoI mean, this weekend the news comes out of the ruling of homicideyou know, Eric Garner, Staten Island man, standing in front of a store when the police move in on him. They had a very different story in their report. They said thatthey never mentioned chokehold. They said he was in no distress. But this video shows something very different. This young man, Ramsey Orta, just stood there filming and shows the entire encounter. And this is what has led to an outcry across this country. But he, after the homicide ruling, is then arrested. Talk about the significance of this, of being able to see what took place.
NORMAN SIEGEL: Oh, it's crucial. Without the video, the Eric Garner story would be totally different. We've seen it over and over again, the police version and the people's version. And the beauty of the video is that it speaks to the truth, and it becomes difficult for the people in power, especially law enforcement, to spin the story. And therefore I encourage and urge people all across this country, take out your smartphone, and when you see police that you believe are violating someone's civil rights, record it. And then the story will be different, and then maybe we can get accountability, finally, over law enforcement.
AARON MATÉ: Well, Debra, you did this. You filmed police last year.
AARON MATÉ: And you were arrested. Can you tell us your story?
DEBRA GOODMAN: Yes. I was coming out of the subway, and I crossed the street, and I noticed a woman who appeared homeless, in a wheelchair, talking to a couple of EMT guys.
AMY GOODMAN: You're a legal secretary?
DEBRA GOODMAN: I was a legal secretary; I'm retired now. And so, I noticed this woman talking to two EMTs, and I walked a little bit further, and I saw three police standing by a police van. So I walked a little bit further, about 10 feet past them, and I just turned around and began to film what was going on. And as I was filming, as I was attempting to film, an officer approached me, and he held his smartphone up as if he was going to film me. And I tried to explain to him that he didn't have that right, because he was a police officer on duty, and I had the right. And then we had some words, and he asked me for some ID. And I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong, so I refused. And he told me I was under arrest, grabbed my wrist, put handcuffs on me, threw me in the van like a piece of meata police vanand I was detained for approximately 25 hours, including going to Central Booking and other places in shackles and handcuffs behind my back. And because I have had a lot of tissue removed due to breast cancer surgery, having the handcuffs behind my back caused terrible pain. And I mentioned this several times, and nothing was done about it. And then, you know, approximately 25 hours later, I was arraigned. And I had to appear at criminal court five separate times, at which times I was offered the same thing. And I didn't want to plead or take any deal. And so, finally, after five visits to criminal court, the charges were dismissed.
AMY GOODMAN: How many statesin how many states is it actually illegal to film the police, Norman Siegel?
NORMAN SIEGEL: Well, it's really confusing. We have, in the federal system, trial courts, court of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. The First Circuit, which is based in the Northeast; the Seventh Circuit, which is Midwest; and the 11th Circuit, which is the SoutheastFlorida, Alabama and Georgiathose courts have said there is a constitutional right to do what Debra did. The Third Circuit, New Jersey, Pennsylvania; Fourth Circuit, Virginia, North Carolina, that areathey say no. So Debra's case that we filed
AMY GOODMAN: So, states are sayingand states also, in legislation, are saying it is not legal on the police, unless the police consent?
DEBRA GOODMAN: Well, a lot of the states haven't addressed the issue. In the absence of law, saying you have a right, there's usually not a right. In New York, for example, our Second Circuit has not addressed this issue, and therefore Debra's case could be very important, and maybe historic, because maybe it winds up eventually in the U.S. Supreme Court, because there's the division between the circuits, and then usually the U.S. Supreme Court gets this. People say to me, "Well, but the Supreme Court is conservative." I think everyoneliberals and conservativessupport the right of people to record the police when they're interacting with people, providing that they don't interfere with the police doing their job.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to the two mothers of victims of police violence in New York. Iris Baez, your son Anthony, it was December 21st, 1994. Describe what happened to Anthony in the Bronx. You were at your house? He was
IRIS BAEZ: No, I was in Florida. My husband was in the house. And that night, they were going to go to Florida, so they had all the suitcases in the front of the house. And they found a football, so the four brothers decided to play withyou know, a little touch game.
AMY GOODMAN: Your four kids.
IRIS BAEZ: Four, the four boys. And they went downstairs, and they started playing. And then, one of the ballone of them threw the ball over David and hit the patrol car in theit hit the floor.
AMY GOODMAN: A patrol car was parked along your property, because
IRIS BAEZ: Yes, they always park there. They hang out there. They do their stuff there. And, you know, they do their stuff there. And the football hit the patrol car in the bottom. Henry said it hitit ricocheted from the floor and hit the patrol car. Mind you that Livoti at the time
AMY GOODMAN: Livoti is the New York City police officer, Francis X. Livoti.
IRIS BAEZ: Livoti is thethat committed the murder. He was being monitored by his sergeant. He's supposed to be driving the sergeant around, because he should not have any contact with anybody in that neighborhood.
IRIS BAEZ: Because he was abusive and because he was a PBA delegate to become a higher-up in the PBA.
AMY GOODMAN: In the union, the police.
IRIS BAEZ: So he was very protective. And when the ball hit the patrol car, Livoti got out, and he told him to get away from the block. And then he said, "But we live here. This is the only house in the block." So then they moved up and kept on throwing the ball. So he went back in the car, but then he got out again, and he told them, "Get out," you know, to get out. And then he put David in the patrol car. He handcuffed David and put him in the patrol car.
AMY GOODMAN: Your younger son.
IRIS BAEZ: My 16-year-old at the time. Then Anthony said, "But what are we doing? We're not doing nothing. We're not bothering nobody." Then, there was a black jeep that my other son had. And he threw him, pushed him against the jeep. And then, when his body ricocheted back, that's when he put the chokehold on him. And then they were screaming. They they were calling my husband. So my husband came down. In underwears, he came down. And then my husband said, "Why are you doing this? Why? He's a sick man. You're hurting him. He got asthma." So
AMY GOODMAN: Your son Anthony has asthma.
IRIS BAEZ: My son Anthony hadhe had asthma when he was younger, but he outgrew it. So, my husband was telling him to stop. And then he said, "So, if he has asthma, what the F is he doing playing football?" And thenit is ironic. And then, so, he kept on, and then when Anthony fell to the floor, at that time, there was another patrol car coming, and it stopped. And in that patrol car that came last was Daisy Boria, the policewoman that said that nothing went down the way they were saying it went down, because, don't forget, the police got 48 hours to fix the story, make it happen the way they want.
AMY GOODMAN: Before they have to testify. So
IRIS BAEZ: Before they testify to everything.
AMY GOODMAN: This police officer, this female police officer, said what the police were saying was not true.
AMY GOODMAN: That your son, Anthony, had died in this chokehold.
IRIS BAEZ: Yes. She said that Livoti choked him. And then there was no CPR. There was no ambulance called. They dragged his body into the car like an animal and threw him in the back seat of the car. Mind you, my husband was saying he's a sick man, he has asthma. Nobody gave him CPR at the time.
AMY GOODMAN: Kadiatou Diallo, you have been through this many times. You're the mother of Amadou Diallo, the young West African immigrant killed by New York police in a hail of bullets February 4th, 1999, in front of his own house. Nineteen of the bullets hit him. You attended the funeral of Eric Garner. Your thoughts today? The officers in your son's case were all acquitted of the killing, from the Street Crimes Unit, although the New York police, after the killing of Amadou, disbanded what was called the Street Crimes Unit.
KADIATOU DIALLO: [inaudible] 1999
AMY GOODMAN: I'm sorry. Can you start again? Sorry, we didn't hear you.
KADIATOU DIALLO: I was saying it's a bittersweet moment for me when I attended the funeral for Eric Garner, because we have been there many times over and over again. When my son was gunned down in his own vestibule, he was doing nothing wrong. And that night, no one called 911 saying that any crime was being committed, has been committed that night. They just came with their guns drawn and just executed my son. My family and the community at large called for changes. It seems to me that call has not been answered, because we keep on seeing many victims of the same similar cases, and even different cases.
What is different this time, Amadou did not have a video to show, or Anthony Baez or many other victims. But this time, as Norman just said, we have this video that enlightened the world to see really the aggressivity and the brutality that these cops did against Eric Garner. I have to say, though, if the NYPD and the law enforcement at large want to help the communities to reduce crime and prevent innocent death from happening, we have to seize this moment and study this video and use it as a way to makeimprove the quality of their work, and even maybe to call on police officers to have new technology equipment that it can carry so that they can document their conduct while apprehending people in the neighborhood.
AARON MATÉ: Norman, the chokehold that was used on Eric Garner, it's banned under police policy, but have the police done enough to ensure that it's not applied?
NORMAN SIEGEL: Absolutely not. From 2009 to 2013, 1,022 complaints about chokeholds were filed with our Civilian Complaint Review Board. Where was the CCRB? Where was the former police commissioner? Where was the former mayor? There should have been an outrage over the fact that something that was banned under all circumstances, complaints of 1,022? Someone missed doing their job. And I think we have to press for absolute adherence to prohibitions on chokeholds.
AMY GOODMAN: Should police wear cameras?
NORMAN SIEGEL: It's really tricky. I know the progressive community is saying that, but the cops are not going to be able to turn it on and off, because they'll turn it on and off when there is a favorable interaction. So are they going to be able to have surveillance 24/7? Is there going to be a database of all of us congregating and assembling? You could have a very Orwellian 1984 scenario in New York City and America. What I say to people: Think through that advocacy of having cops have cameras on their uniforms.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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