THE BRONX - A news conference was held Tuesday calling for action after a Staten Island man died in police custody.
Members of the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus held the news conference urging the NYPD, Richmond County Medical Center and the Staten Island district attorney to conduct a full and swift investigation into the death of Eric Garner.
Garner, of Staten Island, appears to have been put into a chokehold by a plain clothes officer while he was being arrested. News 12 The Bronx is told 43-year-old Garner went into cardiac arrest after saying several times that he could not breathe, though an exact cause of death has not yet been released. Garner was being arrested on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes.
Council members are demanding to know why the chokehold method was used, even though it was prohibited by the department 20 years ago. They are also calling for police officers to have cameras attached to them so that every street arrest can be recorded.
The main officer involved was stripped of his gun and badge and put on desk duty. Another officer was also put on desk duty.
Four emergency responders who were called to help Garner have been suspended following the incident.
Councilwoman Debi Rose, who represents the Staten Island community where Garner lived, says she is satisfied with the investigation thus far.
Garner's funeral will be held at Bethel Baptist Church in Boreum Hill on Wednesday. The medical examiner says it could be weeks before a cause of death is determined.