From [NYT] 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.
The texts and testimony provided unsettling new details in one of the most wrenching cases of suspected police misconduct in New York.
Mr. Garner’s dying words “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times — set off protests around the country and became a powerful slogan for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The texts between the commander, Lt. Christopher Bannon, and the officer, Sgt. Dhanan Saminath, were revealed for the first time on the fourth day of the hearing for Officer Pantaleo, who faces possible termination.
He has never faced criminal charges. A grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict Officer Pantaleo in 2014. A federal civil rights inquiry has dragged on for years without charges being filed. The statute of limitations expires on July 17, the fifth anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death.
An independent police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, brought the current charges against Officer Pantaleo, which resulted in this week’s hearing.
The evidence at the hearing picked up events from the Police Department’s perspective while Mr. Garner — who was at least 6 feet 3 inches tall and had asthma so severe that he quit his job — was lying motionless on the ground on Bay Street near the Staten Island Ferry.
The communications started with Sergeant Saminath messaging Lieutenant Bannon and telling him that Mr. Garner had been wrestled to the ground and then add ing, “He’s most likely DOA,” using the abbreviation for dead on arrival. “He has no pulse,” Sergeant Saminath wrote.