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NYPD to Review Use-of-Force Policy In Wake of Eric Garner Death

By Gustavo Solis | July 22, 2014 7:41pm | Updated on July 22, 2014 7:43pm
 Mourners set up a makeshift memorial where Eric Garner died while police were arresting him.
Mourners set up a makeshift memorial where Eric Garner died while police were arresting him.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

POLICE ONE PLAZA — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton ordered a “top to bottom review" of NYPD training Tuesday, focusing on the use of force, following the death of Eric Garner.

Garner, 43, died Friday after an officer put him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes in Staten Island.

“We’re going to do more than just a review of Staten Island,” Bratton said. “The department needs to do a lot, a lot, in the area of training.”

As part of the comprehensive plan, the commissioner will dispatch a team of NYPD personnel to Los Angeles where they will review the LAPD’s use-of-force policies and develop a liaison between the two departments.

Eric Garner Died During an Arrest on Staten Island
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New York Daily News

Additionally, Bratton will sit in at police academy training sessions, specifically to see how new officers are taught to take people down. The commissioner expects all 35,000 members of the NYPD to be retrained in the future, he said.

A video of Garner's arrest shows Officer Daniel Pantaleo putting Garner in a chokehold — which are prohibited by the police department — and wrestling him to the ground as the Garner repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe.” The officer has been stripped of his badge while the death is investigated.

Staten Island's District Attorney's Office is investigating the death, Bratton said. The NYPD has also launched their own investigation.

Bratton hopes that the review leads to “state-of-the-art” policies that will serve as a meaningful legacy of the Garner tragedy — similar to what happened in Los Angeles after the 2007 MacArthur Park beatings.

Over the weekend, Bratton visited the Staten Island borough commander and several precinct commanders to see how they’ve stepped up community outreach efforts after Garner’s death.

Protesters took to City Hall on Monday to call on Commissioner Bratton to resign. They claim Garner's death should cause the NYPD to abandon its "Broken Windows" theory — which holds that coming down hard on quality-of-life infractions will impact more serious criminal activity.

At Tuesday’s press conference, the commissioner defended the department’s “Broken Windows” theory saying it led to the city’s dramatic decrease in crime when Bratton first instituted the policy in the 1990s.