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The New York Police Department officer involved in the choking death of Eric Garner told internal affairs investigators this week that he did not employ a chokehold on the victim, his attorney said.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo told investigators that he utilized a "takedown technique" he learned at the police academy. According to his lawyer Stuart London, Pantaleo told the investigators "he never exerted any pressure on the windpipe and never intended to injure Mr. Garner."
In the two-hour interview on Wednesday, Pantaleo said he was attempting to arrest "someone who was noncompliant."
The interview was conducted as part of a police internal affairs investigation into the case that is currently underway. The investigation had been stalled in the months since the incident took place while criminal proceedings were underway. The NYPD initiated the investigation on Friday after the criminal case concluded with a grand jury deciding not to indict Pantaleo on charges for Garner's death.
Prior to speaking with Pantaleo, investigators began their proceedings on Friday by speaking to officers at the scene of the arrest. It will likely be at least three months to complete the investigation, according to New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
The August incident was infamously caught on video, with cell phone footage showing Pantaleo's arm wrapped around Garner's neck in an apparent chokehold after the man had been caught selling loose cigarettes. During the deadly struggle, Garner can be heard saying "I Can't Breathe" multiple times. His death was ultimately ruled a homicide by the city's chief medical examiner.
Image via Flickr/Giacomo Barbaro