Police say chokehold victim complicit in his own death - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Police say chokehold victim complicit in his own death

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A woman, right, yells at a New York City Police officer during a protest after it was announced that the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is not being indicted, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in New York. A grand jury cleared the white New Yo A woman, right, yells at a New York City Police officer during a protest after it was announced that the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is not being indicted, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in New York. A grand jury cleared the white New Yo

NEW YORK (AP) — Rank and file New York police officers and their supporters are arguing that a 43-year-old black man was complicit in his death at the hand of a white policeman.

They assert that Eric Garner was overweight and in poor health and that he was a nuisance to shop owners who complained about him selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. They say he resisted arrest and protested that he couldn't breathe, even as he was pleading to be let go.

They also say that the possibility he contributed to his own demise has been drowned out in the furor over race and law enforcement.

The head of the police union, Patrick Lynch, says officers feel like "they are being thrown under the bus."

A grand jury in Staten Island this week cleared a white patrolman in the case. Daniel Pantaleo was seen in video applying what appeared to be an illegal chokehold on Garner. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the case underscores the NYPD's need to improve relations with minorities.

But Lynch says: "What we did not hear is this: You cannot go out and break the law. What we did not hear is that you cannot resist arrest. That's a crime."

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