New York Daily News

August 6, 2014


 

PBA slams medical examiner’s report on Eric Garner's death: ‘It is not a chokehold’


PBA President Pat Lynch defends Officer Daniel Pantaleo on Tuesday after the medical examiner said it was a chokehold by the cop that led to the death of the Staten Island dad: 'I've never seen a document that was more political.'

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA , CORKY SIEMASZKO
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

James Keivom/New York Daily News

The police officer who killed a Staten Island dad with a prohibited chokehold was just doing what he had been trained to do.

So claimed Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, in strident and eyebrow-raising defense Tuesday of NYPD officers, during which he called the medical examiner’s conclusions about Eric Garner’s death “absolutely wrong.”

“It is not a chokehold,” Lynch insisted. “It was bringing a person to the ground the way we're trained to do to place him under arrest."

Lynch, who is not a doctor, also said the ME’s office was “mistaken” when it concluded after an autopsy that the 43-year-old Garner’s death was a homicide.

“I've never seen a document that was more political than that press release by the ME,” Lynch said. “Chokehold. That’s not a medical term."

SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
PBA president Pat Lynch (left) at a press conference Tuesday.
SUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Lynch (cernter left) called the medical examiner's report that Eric Garner died of a chokehold 'political.' He also slammed 'race baiter' Al Sharpton.

Lynch also ripped Mayor de Blasio for not backing the officers in this case. “The mayor needs to support New York City police officers unequivocally,” he said.

De Blasio defended the ME, calling the office “the gold standard in this country for the work they do.”

Lynch’s remarks appeared to be aimed at taking the heat off Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was caught on a shocking cellphone video wrapping an arm around Garner’s neck and dragging him to the pavement.

“I can’t breathe!” Garner could be heard yelling. “I can’t breathe!”

That video sparked nationwide outrage and Pantaleo was yanked off the street as the Staten Island prosecutor launched an investigation. Pantaleo has not been charged with a crime.

Lynch said Garner had been stopped a week earlier by police officers for peddling unlicensed cigarettes on the street.

“He was warned to stop the illegal sale and was not placed under arrest but was warned, admonished and sent on his way,” Lynch said.

    
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS  

The scene when Eric Garner was taken down by police officers on July 17.

 

So Garner knew he was in big trouble when cops caught him selling loosies again, the union president said.

“But the next week he said he wasn't going to be arrested,” Lynch said.

Flanked by Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins, Lynch decried the “insulting and unjustified manner in which police officers are being portrayed by politicians, race baiters, pundits and even our elected officials.”

In particular, Lynch singled out the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been calling for a federal investigation.

“It is outrageously insulting to all police officers to say that we go out on our streets to choke all people of color as Al Sharpton stated while seated at the table right next to our mayor at City Hall,” said Lynch.

Sharpton dismissed Lynch’s broadside as “childish.”

“We have called for a fair and impartial federal investigation to provide the public and the Garner family with results,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Ramsey Orta — the petty criminal who made the tell-tale video — is now in jail awaiting trial on a gun possession charge. He claims the arrest was a set up by vengeful cops.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Daniel Pantaleo (left) was defended by PBA President Pat Lynch during a press conference on Tuesday.

rparascandola@nydailynews.com