NYPD Report Downplayed Chokehold Incident In Eric Garner Death

July 22, 2014 | Sophie Weiner

An internal NYPD report obtained by the Daily News on the death of Eric Garner whitewashed key details of the arrest such as the improper chokehold and medical status of the 43-year-old Staten Island man.

In interviews conducted by the police department soon after the incident, Sgt. Dhanan Saminath describes the cops “maintaining control of him” while Garner “did not appear to be in great distress.” Fellow officer Sgt. Kizzy said that “the perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse,” but also stated she “believed she heard the perpetrator state that he was having difficulty breathing.”

In two videos shot at the scene, it’s clear that Garner repeatedly tells police that he can’t breathe and that his condition deteriorated fast.

Witness Taisha Allen was also interviewed by police and her version of events differed greatly:

Taisha Allen, 36, said she saw the two officers take Garner “by the arms and put him on the ground” and that he “struck his head and shoulder on the ground and was telling the officers he couldn’t breathe.”

She also said an officer in a green shirt — Daniel Pantaleo — “had his knee on Mr. Garner’s back and was ordering him to put his hands behind his back.” He’s the officer who appears to put Garner in a chokehold while taking him down.

Even Mayor De Blasio, who’s currently on a family vacation in Italy, told reporters: “As an individual who’s no expert in law enforcement, it looked like a chokehold to me.”

SI Live recently reported that Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who used the chokehold on Garner, had previously been the defendant in two civil rights lawsuits. One of them, in which Pantaleo was accused of illegally strip searching two convicts in broad daylight, ended up settled by the city for $30,000.