clearn.png
Sunday May 19th, 2019 10:42PM

Medical examiner: Chokehold triggered Eric Garner's death

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Eric Garner testified Wednesday that a police officer's chokehold set into motion "a lethal sequence of events," but she said even a bear hug could've hastened his death given Garner's fragile health.

Hemorrhaging in Garner's neck muscles was indicative a chokehold was used during the July 2014 confrontation, Dr. Floriana Persechino said at a disciplinary trial that could lead to Officer Daniel Pantaleo's firing.

The New York Police Department banned chokeholds in the 1990s because they can be deadly.

Persechino said a bystander's cellphone video only helped confirm her findings that Pantaleo had wrapped his arm around Garner's neck, obstructing his breathing and triggering a deadly asthma attack.

Garner's pleas of "I can't breathe" became a rallying cry against police brutality.

"The chokehold would have compromised the neck and would have compromised the airway, making it difficult for him to breathe," Persechino said.

Pantaleo's lawyer, Stuart London, focused on Garner's health as he cross-examined Persechino. She said a person in good health might have survived the confrontation.

Garner weighed 395 pounds at the time of death, Persechino said. The 43-year-old suffered from asthma, diabetes and had a heart nearly double the size of a person in good health.

Nonetheless, she said, he didn't appear in distress when seen on security video crossing a street about an hour before Pantaleo grabbed him.

London pointed to a report from the NYPD's top doctor that concluded Garner was "predisposed to morbidity and mortality" and that his death was "brought on by a heated argument followed by a physical struggle."

The NYPD doctor, Eli Kleinman, did not personally examine Garner's body, relying instead on the autopsy and video of the confrontation, London said. Kleinman will testify later in the trial that he concluded Pantaleo did not use a chokehold to restrain Garner, London said.

London argued Garner could've saved himself had he acquiesced to being arrested after officers said they suspected him of selling untaxed loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street corner. Before Pantaleo grabbed him, Garner is seen on video arguing with the officers, protesting what he considered constant harassment.

But the central question in Pantaleo's trial is whether he used a banned chokehold, not whether Garner was physically capable of withstanding one. In an era where fat shaming and victim blaming are verboten, Garner's mother thought the focus on his health was a low blow.

"Here I am again being tortured by Stu London's shenanigans," Gwen Carr said afterward.

Carr left the hearing room before about two-dozen graphic autopsy photos were shown, heeded a warning from the administrative judge overseeing the trial.

The photos, never previously been seen in a public forum, showed scrapes on Garner's knee, back and buttock and hemorrhages in his eyes and neck muscles.

The NYPD's disciplinary process plays out like a trial in front of an administrative judge.

Normally the purpose is to determine whether an officer violated department rules, but that's only if disciplinary charges are filed within 18 months of an incident.

Because Pantaleo's case languished, the watchdog Civilian Complaint Review Board must show that his actions rose to the level of criminal conduct, even though he faces no criminal charges and is being tried in a department tribunal, not a criminal court.

The final decision on any punishment lies with the police commissioner. Penalties range from the loss of vacation days to firing.

Pantaleo, 33, denies wrongdoing. He has been on desk duty since Garner's death.

___

Follow Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak

___

Send news tips, documents and recordings to AP securely and confidentially: https://www.ap.org/tips

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Help coming on blocking scam calls for robocall-plagued US
New moves by U.S. regulators could help thwart some of the billions of robocalls received in the U.S. The rising volume of calls in the last few years has created pressure on Congress, regulators and phone companies to act
12:14PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Allies fear US-Iran tensions could spark accidental conflict
U.S. claims that Iran poses a growing threat are meeting international skepticism as well as worries of a slide toward war
12:12PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Julianne Moore on gender parity: 'I believe in quotas'
Julianne Moore says that for the movie industry to reach gender parity, it's necessary to implement quotas
12:10PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
FAA chief faces questioning over Boeing 737 Max airliner
Congressional investigation into FAA approval of the Boeing 737 Max airliner heats up
11:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
CBS defends handling of 'Bull' actor and misconduct claim
CBS is defending its handling of a sexual harassment by network star Michael Weatherly, star of the drama 'Bull'
11:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
Alabama ban on nearly all abortions in GOP governor's hands
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will now decide whether to sign legislation that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state
11:18AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Looking for climate change info, teachers find propaganda
Teachers across the country describe struggles finding trustworthy materials to help them teach climate change
8:44AM ( 3 hours ago )
Facebook limits livestreaming ahead of tech summit in Paris
Several world leaders and tech bosses are meeting in Paris to find ways to stop acts of violent extremism from being shown online
8:35AM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Germany concerned over US-Iran tensions
The Latest: Germany expresses concern about US-Iran tensions roiling Mideast, warns of military escalation
8:33AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Help coming on blocking scam calls for robocall-plagued US
New moves by U.S. regulators could help thwart some of the billions of robocalls received in the U.S. The rising volume of calls in the last few years has created pressure on Congress, regulators and phone companies to act
12:14PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Allies fear US-Iran tensions could spark accidental conflict
U.S. claims that Iran poses a growing threat are meeting international skepticism as well as worries of a slide toward war
12:12PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Julianne Moore on gender parity: 'I believe in quotas'
Julianne Moore says that for the movie industry to reach gender parity, it's necessary to implement quotas
12:10PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Students in Colorado shooting face murder, other charges
Two students suspected of opening fire at their school are charged with over a dozen counts of murder and attempted murder as well as theft and arson, prosecutors said Wednesday
12:02PM ( 27 minutes ago )
2020 Democrats warn Alabama portends larger abortion fight
Democratic presidential candidates are condemning Alabama's approval of a ban on nearly all abortion, and warning that Republican-controlled legislatures around the country may follow suit
11:53AM ( 36 minutes ago )