STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Despite media reports to the contrary, no determination has been made on the cause and manner of Eric Garner’s death, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office said Sunday.
“The cause and manner of death are pending further studies, and no findings will be released until the investigation is complete,” a statement released by the medical examiner’s office reads. “Any other information or suggestion to the contrary is simply not true.”
Media reports that have cited “preliminary” autopsy results are “not accurate,” OCME spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said.
“The medical examiner’s office has not released any preliminary findings,” she said. “We certainly don’t discuss preliminary findings.”
An autopsy of Garner, who died shortly after an altercation with police in front of a beauty supply store in Tompkinsville on Thursday, had been scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Police have said Garner went into cardiac arrest after officers attempted to arrest him on charges of selling untaxed cigarettes, and that he was pronounced dead on arrival at Richmond University Medical Center, West Brighton.
However, cell phone video taken as the scene unfolded on Bay Street Thursday show an officer, since identified as Daniel Pantaleo, putting Garner in a banned chokehold and dragging him to the pavement with the help of other officers.
Garner can be heard in the video repeatedly gasping, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!”
Demanding justice for Garner and his family, hundreds of New Yorkers, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, converged on Staten Island Saturday for a peaceful rally and march to the 120th Precinct stationhouse in St. George.
“We’ve been to the tape. And the tape speaks for itself,” Sharpton said Saturday before a crowd gathered at Mount Sinai Center for Community Enrichment in New Brighton. “From what I saw in the video, [the police] disrespected [Garner’s] humanity.”
Pantaleo, an 8-year NYPD veteran, has been stripped of his gun and shield, and will work in a non-enforcement capacity until further notice, an NYPD spokesman confirmed Saturday.