Four EMS Workers Suspended Following NYPD Choke Hold Death

Four EMS workers have been suspended without pay following the death of a 43-year old African American man who was reportedly placed in a choke-hold by an NYPD officer.

Eric Garner died last Thursday while being arrested for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally. The 6-foot-5, 350-pound Garner reportedly suffered from asthma and diabetes.  A seven-minute video taken at the scene has set off a firestorm of anger in part because its shows the medics doing little to help Garner.

The EMS personnel in question are part of the FDNY EMS system, but are employed by Richmond University Medical Center. Their names have not been released. According to a statement issued by the hospital two paramedics and two EMTs have been “suspended without pay while the investigation continues as they are placed on operational restriction. This restriction means they are not working at this hospital or throughout the 911 system. Richmond University Medical Center continues to fully cooperate as this matter is under investigation,”

SILive.com is reporting that Israel Miranda, President of Local 27 of the Uniformed EMT and Paramedics Association who represents FDNY’s EMS personnel, was critical of the actions of the EMS personnel after watching the video. Local 27 does not represent the involved personnel.

While the use of choke-holds are prohibited by NYPD policy, Garner’s autopsy showed no damage to his airway or neck, nor was his death attributed to strangulation or asphyxiation. The medical examiner is continuing to investigate with indications pointing toward a heart attack brought on by the struggle.

Here is a copy of the video:

 

 

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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