new york's finest

Police Report Says Eric Garner, Who Died, ‘Did Not Appear to Be in Great Distress’

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19: People participate in a demonstration against the death of Eric Garner after he was taken into police custody in Staten Island on Thursday on July 19, 2014 in New York City. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in a news conference yesterday that there will be a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Garner. The 400-pound, 6-foot-4 asthmatic, Garner (43) died after police put him in a chokehold outside of a convenience store for illegally selling cigarettes. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Protesters for Garner. Photo: Spencer Platt/2014 Getty Images

The video says otherwise, but an internal NYPD report claims the arrest of Eric Garner on Staten Island went relatively smoothly, except for the cardiac-arrest part. The preliminary document, obtained by the New York Daily News, quotes Sergeant Dhanan Saminath, an officer present at the scene, saying “he perpetrator’s did not appear to be in great distress.” Shall we check the tape on that? Nope, definitely full of distress.

Another officer, Sergeant Kizzy Adonis, said “the perpetrator’s condition did not seem serious and that he did not appear to get worse.” Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died soon after. (He “became unresponsive, though he was observed to be breathing,” according to the report, and went into cardiac arrest “when he was placed on the stretcher.”) Four other officers involved, including Daniel Pantaleo, who administered the illegal chokehold, were not interviewed for the report, pending a criminal investigation.

The Daily News adds that Adonis also told interviewers she “believed she heard” Garner, who was suspected of selling loose cigarettes, “state that he was having difficulty breathing.” On the tape, he can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” at least nine times.

NYPD Report: Eric Garner Not in ‘Great Distress’