Eric Garner’s takedown ‘meets the definition of a chokehold’: NYPD inspector

NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo squirmed in his seat at his departmental trial Tuesday as a top Police Academy official testified that the way he grabbed Eric Garner during his deadly arrest “meets the definition of a chokehold.”

NYPD Inspector Richard Dee also said there’s no record that Pantaleo was trained to employ the “seat-belt hold” he claims to have used against Garner nearly five years ago.

Dee, the commanding officer in charge of recruit training at the academy, said cops get repeatedly taught there that chokeholds are banned by NYPD, and are instructed to immediately “disengage” if they put a suspect in one.

During questioning by Civilian Complaint Review Board prosecutor Jonathan Fogel, Dee was shown three still images from the cellphone video that infamously shows Garner yelling “I can’t breathe!” while getting busted on Staten Island on suspicion of illegally selling loose cigarettes.

In one image, Garner is face down with his right forearm and left hand on the sidewalk and Pantaleo is astride his back, with his left arm around Garner’s neck.

“It meets the definition of a chokehold,” Dee said of the action.

Dee also said Garner’s coughing and grimacing on the video showed that his breathing was being restricted.

Although Pantaleo sat ramrod straight for Monday’s first day of proceedings at One Police Plaza, he squirmed in his seat during Dee’s testimony.

During opening statements, defense lawyer Stuart London denied the Pantaleo used a chokehold and said the cop instead applied a “seat-belt hold” while taking down Garner on July 17, 2014.

But Dee testified that there’s no record at the academy showing that Pantaleo was trained in the latter technique.

It involves grabbing a suspect from behind by looping one arm under an armpit and the other over the opposite shoulder, then clasping hands and forcing the suspect to the ground, Dee said.

Plainclothes cops started getting taught the maneuver in 2011, but Pantaleo received his undercover training in 2008, Dee said.

Dee also said he had previously reviewed the video of Garner’s arrest and concluded that the fact Garner could be heard coughing and seen grimacing suggested there was pressure against his neck.

At one point during his direct examination, Dee was asked whether he would have put his hands on Garner, who had a history of run-ins with the cops and said, “I’m tired of it. It stops today,” before Pantaleo grabbed him.

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