The New York City medical examiner has ruled that the death of 43-year old Eric Garner was caused by the police's controversial and illegal use of a chokehold and has deemed his death a homicide.
BREAKING: Medical examiner says chokehold by police officer caused death of NYC man; ruled homicide.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 1, 2014
Garner's July 22 death in Staten Island sparked national outcry after a video was released showing three police officers bringing the father of six to the ground, one of them holding his neck in a chokehold despite multiple cries from Garner, an asthmatic, that he couldn't breathe. Police had accused Garner of selling loosies, or individual cigarettes.
The medical examiner cited Garner's acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease as contributing factors, but singled out "compression of the neck and chest" as the cause of death, according to the Daily News. The use of chokeholds during arrests are prohibited by the New York City Police.
Garner's widow was relieved by the news. “Thank God the truth is finally out,” Esaw Garner told the Daily News. “Thank God for that.”
The Richmond County D.A.'s office released the following statement to The Wire
We have been in contact with the Medical Examiner’s Office, who has indicated to us the cause and manner of death of Eric Garner on July 17, 2014. We await the issuance of the official death certificate and the autopsy report. The investigation into Mr. Garner’s death continues.”
The Wire has previously reported that the F.B.I. is actively monitoring the situation.
Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sat down with Reverand Al Sharpton and Police Commissioner William Bratton to discuss anger in the black community over the use of a chokehold during a seemingly benign arrest attempt.
Last week, Sharpton called on federal prosecutors to investigate Garner's death. Sharpton has been an outspoken advocate for the family since the incident.