Homicide Ruling in Staten Island Choke Victim Case

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The death of Eric Garner, 43, the Staten Island father of two choked to death by New York Police Officers after being detained on a city street, has been ruled a homicide by the New York City Medical Examiner.

Garner was killed by "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police," New York Medical Examiner spokesperson Julia Bolcer said.

Media have reported Eric Garner was being detained for selling loose cigarettes on the street and while bystander videos have shown a confrontation lasting more than three minutes which concluded with the African American husband and father being jumped by up to four officers as one undercover officer put the asthmatic into a chokehold and "rode" Garner to the sidewalk.

Garner was on the ground, repeating "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," which he stated at least four times, while he was being handcuffed. He went limp and chaos broke out.

The medical examiner also indicated Asthma, heart disease and obesity were contributing factors in Garner's death.

The video also depicts officers horseshoeing the man, surrounding him, attempting to incite him to react backing him into the wall. The 400lb African American, was not cursing, although using his hands to gesture, he did not respond to the threats with retaliation or attempt to flee, or defend himself. a person that needed force and clearly not excessive force to end the confrontation.

U.S. Attorney Eric Holder has indicated he is monitoring the situation closely.

Police Commissioner William Bratton, has said it appeared the officer placed Garner in a chokehold. Chokeholds are prohibited in the NYPD and Bratton has indicated there is a top down investigation into the death and re-designing the use of force training will begin with a joint LAPD-NYPD training exercise.

This is a developing story.

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