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Updated: May 15, 2019, 3:45 PM

Medical examiner says chokehold triggered events that caused Eric Garner’s death

By Sydney Kashiwagi

NEW YORK -- A city medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Eric Garner after his death said she believes Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold on Garner triggering the “lethal cascade of events” that led to his death.

Dr. Floriana Persechino said although Garner did not “die of a chokehold in and of itself,” the move triggered him to have an asthma attack which prevented him from breathing.

After watching the video and viewing still photos of Pantaleo and Garner’s altercation, the medical examiner, who has conducted as many as 4,000 autopsies over the course of her career said: “In my opinion that’s a chokehold.”

As photos of Garner’s autopsy were set to be shown to the courtroom, his mother, Gwen Carr, left the room with several supporters. She later said she did not want to have a “breakdown” while seeing the gory photos of her late son.

During the autopsy, Persechino said she found hemorrhaging in his eyes, under the surface of his neck and deep within his muscle tissue. She said the hemorrhaging was caused by the chokehold.

She also said the chokehold likely caused Garner significant physical pain.

Although the medical examiner said she found no visible signs of trauma on the exterior of Garner’s neck, she pointed out that when a chokehold is delivered using a soft object -- like a forearm -- trauma will likely only found beneath the skin.

The medical examiner’s testimony marked the third day of the two week disciplinary trial of Pantaleo.

On Tuesday, the head of the NYPD’s recruit training section said Pantaleo used a banned chokehold during his fatal encounter with Garner, contradicting Pantaleo’s attorney, Stuart London’s, claim that the officer used an approved technique known as a “seat belt hold” to restrain him.