NYPD Union Slams Chokehold Report as ‘Political’

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -

The head of a powerful New York Police Department union termed “political” the medical examiner’s ruling that a man was killed by a police officer’s chokehold and accused Al Sharpton of injecting racial politics by accusing the officer of profiling the victim because of his race.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch denied that Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a chokehold while attempting to arrest Eric Garner on July 17, telling reporters that Garner had been warned the week before his death to stop selling illegal cigarettes and  denied that race played any role.

“It is a person’s behavior that leads to interactions with police, not who they are, what they look like or how much money they have in their pocket,” Lynch said.

Garner was black. Pantaleo is white.

Minutes after Lynch’s press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio defended both the report and Sharpton.

The city’s medical examiner’s office was “the gold standard in this country,” de Blasio said.

Prosecutors are still investigating. Pantaleo has been stripped of his gun and badge.

Both the police commissioner and the mayor have said a chokehold was used on the 6-foot-3, 350-pound man. Lynch said a technique was used to take down a larger man, not a chokehold, which is banned by the NYPD.

Sharpton on Tuesday reiterated his call for a federal probe, which Lynch said contributed to a lack of morale among officers.

“There’s a lack of respect for law enforcement resulting from the slanderous, insulting and unjust manner in which police officers are being portrayed by race-baiters, politicians, pundits and even our elected officials,” Lynch said.