Eric Garner’s family calls for justice after death ruled a homicide

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HARLEM (PIX11) -- The family of Eric Garner and the Rev. Al Sharpton gathered in Harlem Saturday morning to speak out for the first time since his death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.

"Homicide ruling by the medical examiner is plausible cause for an arrest," Sharpton said.

Garner's widow, Esau Garner, spoke out for the first time after the ruling, saying that she only wants justice.

"I want to thank the god above for giving us justice for my husband, so that we can move forward and get this cop done with," she said.

His mother, Gwen Carr, said she screamed, "Thank you, Jesus!" when she found out about the report.

Garner's family and Sharpton, who have already met with federal prosecutors, want the Staten Island district attorney to move towards an arrest in the case.

The New York Medical Examiner released the report Friday that said Garner died from a chokehold used by an NYPD officer during his arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes. The autopsy found that the 43-year-old died as a result of compression of neck, compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.

Contributing factors to Garner's death included acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, according to the medical examiner.

Sharpton announced a march on Aug. 23 across the Verrazano Bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island to demand justice for Garner's death on July 17 in Staten Island.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Eric Garner, on this day we have received the Medical Examiner's findings concerning the cause of his death. My administration will continue to work with all involved authorities, including the Richmond County District Attorney, to ensure a fair and justified outcome," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The video of Garner's arrest sparked an outcry against the police and incited calls for police reform. Protests against his death use the phrase "I can't breathe," which is what Garner is heard saying in the video after the chokehold is administered.

The officer who allegedly put Garner in the illegal chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, was required to turn in his gun and badge, while officer Justin D'Amico is on desk duty. Both are facing an internal investigation

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton acknowledged the medical examiner's report and released the following statement:

"The NYPD has been informed of the preliminary findings by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner as it relates to the death of Eric Garner. We will continue to cooperate with the Richmond County District Attorney's office, which is the lead investigative entity in this case."

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