NYPD union lawyers are running with the defense that Eric Garner’s poor health is what led to his death, not the choke hold applied by Officer Daniel Pantaleo.
Attorney, Stuart London, told the court that Pantaleo should be cleared of all fault in Garner’s death because Garner “died from being morbidly obese.”
During an administrative hearing, London said “He was a ticking time bomb that resisted arrest. If he was put in a bear hug, it would have been the same outcome.”
London’s remarks were a part of a seven-day proceeding that took place at the NYPD headquarters. The hearings are to determine if Pantaleo will lose his job for his hand in Garner’s death.
According to medical examiners, Pantaleo tried to restrain Garner with a “chokehold” that compressed his throat and chest, triggering a fatal asthma attack. The incident took place on July 17, 2014, when Staten Island police officers attempted to arrest the 43-year-old for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes. Garner’s death sparked national outrage after it was captured on video.
Although he didn’t face any legal punishment, Pantaleo has been on desk duty since the death. In order to fire him, the NYPD needs to prove that Pantaleo used a chokehold forbidden by the department in a way that counts as criminal conduct.