Inspector Richard Dee, the commanding police officer in charge of recruit training at the NYPD, testified Tuesday that detective Daniel Pantaleo was never trained to use the “seatbelt chokehold” seen in the video recording of Eric Garner’s tragic death on July 17, 2014.
In fact, Dee says the New York City police officer was repeatedly instructed during training to not use the chokehold that led to Garner’s death, which cut off his airway as several officers arrested him for selling loose cigarettes.
Dee revealed the prohibition against chokeholds is repeatedly highlighted in bold and capitalized text throughout training documents.
The ban on officers using chokeholds is also referenced in class demonstrations and in writing, according to Dee.
On Monday, during a hearing where lawyers battled over whether or not officer Pantaleo should be fired, Pantaleo’s attorney Stuart London argued Pantaleo used a “seatbelt maneuver” to take down Garner, which was approved by the NYPD.
However, Dee’s testimony contradicts that claim.
“I can’t find any record of him being trained in that maneuver,” Dee, who testified the technique was not taught at the 2006 academy when Pntaleo attended NYPD’s academy, said.
Dee stated the technique was also not taught during Pantaleo’s plainclothes training he received from the department in 2008, according to the New York Daily News.
Dee also said, after watching footage of Garner’s death, Pantaleo’s maneuver constituted a chokehold and that there were several other alternate courses of action he could have used before using his arms to choke Garner.
If he were in Pantaleo’s shoes, Dee said he would have waited for back up.
Michael Lewis, the only other witness called Tuesday, testified that Garner was breaking up a fight between two men outside the store before cops were called.
Lewis also recorded part of the incident showing Garner being put on a gurney and brought to an ambulance as Pantaleo bragged to other officers how he took Garner down.
“If you want to know whether a police officer was trained in a certain technique, you should talk to the person who actually trained him,” Police Benevolent Association Patrick Lynch said.
“P.O. Pantaleo’s attorneys will do just that later in the trial. But CCRB knows full well that it is wasting everyone’s time by scrounging for evidence to suggest P.O. Pantaleo committed a rulebook infraction. They know that he did not commit any crime, and that he should be cleared of all charges against him.”
Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, sat in the courtroom just a few feet away from Pantaleo along with a friend.
“Pantaleo’s lawyers want to prove that it wasn’t a chokehold when a chief inspector said it was a chokehold,” Carr said.
“Everyone who has gotten on that stand has said, ‘It’s a chokehold.”
After Garner’s death, which was recorded by his friend Ramsey Orta, Orta was arrested for recording too closely.
Watch video of him detailing how the incident has impacted his life below.