Nearly a year after the chokehold death of Eric Garner on New York City’s Staten Island, interviews and previously undisclosed documents provide what the New York Times calls “new details and a fresh understanding of how the seemingly routine police encounter began, how it hurtled toward its deadly conclusion and how the police and emergency medical workers responded. the encounter was a product of a police strategy to crack down on the sort of disorder that, to the police, Garner represented. The first official police report on his death failed to note the key detail that vaulted the fatal arrest into the national consciousness: that a police officer wrapped his arm around Garner's neck.
The death was the start of a succession of police killings that captured national attention and ignited debate over race and law enforcement. From Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C., to Freddie Gray in Baltimore, the deaths of black men at the hands of the police have faced a level of scrutiny that would have been unlikely before Garner died and before a grand jury in December declined to bring charges in his death. Though the police department has concluded its investigation into Garner's death, the results and any internal discipline that may come for officers are delayed until a civil rights inquiry by the U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York is completed.