Protesters mark anniversary of Eric Garner's chokehold death


NEW YORK (AP) — Protesters marked the anniversary of Eric Garner's death Friday with a rally at the site of his fatal encounter with police.

"We're over-policed," said Alice Sturmsutter, who joined about 20 other activists in lower Manhattan Friday as they boarded the Staten Island Ferry for a protest at the site where a police officer put Garner in a chokehold on July 17, 2014.

"If we had community police that came out of the community and understood what's going on that would be better," Sturmsutter said.

The protesters planned to join others gathering at the Staten Island convenience store where officers confronted Garner, who was 43, because police believed he was selling loose cigarettes. A video shot by an onlooker shows Garner, who was black, telling the officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, placed his arm around Garner's neck to take him down. Garner is heard gasping "I can't breathe!" 11 times before losing consciousness.

His death, coupled with police killings of unarmed black men elsewhere, spurred protests around the country about police treatment of black men.

Donna Shah, who was raised on Staten Island and now lives in Atlanta, said she was glad to see a diverse group protesting Garner's death on Friday.

"It does touch my heart to see people of other nationalities support causes like this," Shah said. "It does show me that they care and that they want to do something."

The city medical examiner found the chokehold contributed to Garner's death, but a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo. A federal inquiry is ongoing.

Chokeholds are banned by New York Police Department policy. Pantaleo has said that he used a legal takedown maneuver known as a seatbelt, not a chokehold.

Garner's family reached a $5.9 million settlement with New York City this week over the death.

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