Eric Garner Death Was ‘Not a Big Deal,’ Police Commander Said

A police commander in Staten Island received text messages from one of his officers in July 2014, informing him that a man identified as Eric Garner had been arrested, and was “most likely DOA” after he had been wrestled to the ground.

“Not a big deal,” the lieutenant replied. “We were effecting a lawful arrest.”

Audible gasps were heard as the texts were read aloud on Thursday during a police disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo. He is accused of recklessly using a chokehold that led to Mr. Garner’s death after he was detained on the suspicion that he was selling untaxed cigarettes.


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