Eric Garner Death & Chokehold Aftermath: Majority of New Yorkers Support Criminal Charges Against NYPD Officer, Poll Says

August 28, 2014
Selena Hill
Latin Post
A new poll reveals that the majority of New Yorkers believe New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo should be criminally prosecuted for his actions in the death of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after police put him in an illegal chokehold last month.
A video recording obtained by the Daily News revealed that Garner had a verbal confrontation with two plainclothes NYPD officers who accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. Eventually, Pantaleo appeared to put Garner in a chokehold and slammed Garner's face into the ground, screaming "I can't breathe." Authorities say that the asthmatic married father of six died from a heart attack about an hour after his arrest. His death was later officially ruled as a homicide, reports the Huffington Post.
According to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, 64 percent of New York City residents say that charges should be brought against Pantaleo, while only 19 percent disagree.
When the results are broken down by race, the poll found that 83 percent of black voters approve of charges being brought against Pantaleo, along with 50 percent of white voters.
In addition, 90 percent of black voters, 71 percent of Latino voters and 52 percent of white voters said there was "no excuse" for the way police handled Garner's arrest.
"The Eric Garner tragedy dominates the news and city voters think there is no excuse for his death. White and black voters overwhelmingly think there should be criminal charges against the officer involved," said Assistant Director Maurice Carroll, reports the New York Observer.
The poll also found that an a majority of NYC residents, 74 percent, agree that police brutality is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem and that 63 percent think that cops are tougher on blacks than they are on whites.
Broken down by race, 83 percent of black voters said cops handle blacks tougher than whites, and 50 percent of white voters agreed. Meanwhile, 96 percent of blacks surveyed say that police brutality is an issue in NYC.
"It's clear to New Yorkers that police brutality is a serious problem, and it is particularly evident to Black and Latino New Yorkers," said Priscilla Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Communities United for Police Reform, according to .
Surprisingly, most New Yorkers, 61 percent, are in support of "Broken Windows" policing, a police tactic that believes that stopping low-level offenses (like selling untaxed cigarettes) will deter more serious crimes. Although Garner was a victim of Broken Windows, even 56 percent of black voters are in favor of this policing strategy.
"It's clear around the city, people want to see enforcement on quality of life crimes. They want it to be fair," NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference in Harlem, DNAinfo reports. "They want it to be equal treatment under the law in all parts of the city."
Topics: Eric Garner