What you need to know about the Eric Garner chokehold case

What's happened?

Eric Garner, a US citizen, died of a heart attack after being put in an outlawed chokehold by a New York Police Department officer in July.

The 43-year-old suffered from asthma and in a distressing video of his arrest, he can be heard shouting "I can't breathe!" several times as he is aggressively manhandled by officers.

Warning: This video contains distressing footage


What has the public reaction been?

The news was met with disbelief by many in the US. Thousands of people marched across New York with dozens reportedly arrested.

"I can't breathe" has become a favoured chant of protesters, in a similar way that protesters in Ferguson have used the reported final exchange between Michael Brown and the police officer who shot him - "Hands up. Don't shoot".

There is a growing feeling of distrust towards the police in the US, especially among the African-American community in light of yet another death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer - mirroring the recent similar deaths of Brown and Tamir Rice.

The police response to Garner's apparent asthma attack has also been criticised. With the help of a second eyewitness video Harry Siegel of the New York Daily Newsassesses in detail the police response and concludes that Garner was "treated like a piece of meat" and implores anyone who doesn't understand the growing distrust of police to "put your politics down, open your eyes and watch the videos".

What has been said?

Although he did not directly address the Eric Garner case, president Barack Obama admitted:

The concern on the part of too many minority communities is that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way.

  • Barack Obama
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