Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six died after a confrontation with several New York Police Department officers. Police had suspected Eric Garner of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on the sidewalk located in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Mr. Garner felt he was unjustly being targeted by police and questioned the officers.
Soon, several NYPD officers took Garner down to the ground. One of those officers, Daniel Pantaleo, used a chokehold on the unarmed Garner even though the technique had been banned by the NYPD. Eric Garner’s friend, Ramsey Orta, captured the incident on video. The disturbing footage shows Mr. Garner flailing on the ground as he gasped and wailed, “I can’t breath,” 11 times! The 350lb asthmatic man, affectionately known as “Big E,” died shortly thereafter.
Eric Garner’s death prompted massive protests throughout the United States, and his words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry among protesters. throughout the world. Scrutiny of police violence in minority communities and demand for reform dramatically increased.
The Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act was passed by both houses of the New York state assembly on June 8, 2020. Four days later, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed the law. New York City paid $5.9 million to settle all claims with the Garner family. After a years-long disciplinary process, former police officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired from the NYPD on August 19, 2019.