Controversy Over NYPD Chokehold

Serious questions are being asked over the death of a man who was put in a chokehold by New York police. INSIDE EDITION has the report.

One confrontation has caused concern across the nation. It was a video of New York City police wrestling a man to the ground with what appears to be a chokehold, a maneuver that has been banned for 20 years. 

Rene Dreifuss teaches martial arts to many state and local police departments. He showed INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent exactly why the chokehold is so dangerous.

"A tracheal attacks the air flow," said Dreifuss. "So they did this." The hold literally took Trent's breath away, and more.

"Did you feel the panic response?" asked Dreifuss.

 "Oh yeah," said Trent.

"Well that's what happened," said Dreifuss. "They induced a very, very significant panic response."

According to noted pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, the chokehold may be an effective means of subduing a suspect, but it is very, very dangerous.

"Anything that cuts off someone's air can lead to cardiac respiratory depression and death ," said Dr. Wecht. "

What's just as shocking is the lack of care. In the New York City case, 43-year-old Eric Garner, who stood 6'3" and weighed 350 pounds, was placed under arrest for a minor offense of allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. 

What happened next has left many people shaken. Garner was lying handcuffed on the ground when paramedics arrived.

"Sir, c'mon. It's EMS. We're here to help," medical responders said in the video.

But other than feeling for a pulse, Garner apparently received no medical attention in the crucial minutes when his life  may have hung in the balance.

Despite the ban on chokeholds in New York City, 1,000 people have complained that they've been choked by NYPD cops in the past five years.

"I can't breathe. I can't breathe," Garner said in the video.

HLN host Jane Velez Mitchell said there was never any need for police to use the chokehold.

"This guy was no threat to these police whatsoever," said Mitchell. "He's standing there on the street corner, allegedly trying to sell cigarettes one by one. Big whoop. There was no need to do this."

Garner, who was obese and suffered from asthma, died of cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital. The four emergency service personnel at the scene have been placed on desk duty pending the investigation. The plainclothes cop who put Garner in the alleged chokehold has been stripped of his badge and gun pending an investigation.