Man says he was beaten by cops on same SI block just days before Eric Garner’s death

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) -- "He started frisking me. I stepped back from him and he just started jumping me. Started beating me with batons and everything."

Jeff Thomas says an officer hit him over and over again with his baton, even after he was on the ground and subdued. Bystanders in the background begged the officer to stop.

Thomas says it happened on July 12, just a few feet away from where Eric Garner was approached by police last Thursday.

"The beating that they gave me...to end up for Eric to get killed, it's like they don't value life anymore. It's like the police are a gang," Thomas said.

The death of Eric Garner cast spotlight on Staten Island and raised questions over tactics used by officers from the 120th precinct. Jose lasalle runs the grassroots anti-brutality group Cop Watch patrol unit.

"Now with these cameras in existence, it has shown the world and the people that watch this video that this is something that's been happening for so long," Iasalle said.

For now, Officer Daniel Pantaleo is stripped of his gun and badge after placing Garner in an apparent choke hold. The Police Benevolence Association President Pat Lynch said the modified assignment is wrong and motivated by politics.

But civil rights attorneyJason Leventhal says Officer Pantaleo has a history of crossing the line.

"My clients Tommy Rice and Darren Collins filed a false arrest and malicious prosecution lawsuit against Daniel Pantaleo based on falsely arresting them based on his lies," Leventhal said.

The suit was settled with the city for $30,000 earlier this year. There was never any admission of wrongdoing by Officer Pantaleo. But Leventhal says Pantaleo broke department rules.

"Pantaleo strip searched Mr. Rice and Mr. Collins in public outside the car right in the street. Open to public view."

"Why was he still on the force? He needs to be fired, suspended," said Garner's widow, Esaw.

Garner's death continues to be difficult for many on Staten Island . But for Esaw Garner, the loss is personal. She and Eric were married for more than 25 years. She recalled their last moment together.

"I gave him a kiss. Said I love you babe. And he said right back at you. I got out the car.I never thought that would be the last time that I would kiss my husband."

4 comments

  • winsome

    This is a white supremacy system. People of color are still treated like animals and the training of the police force does not require them to be ‘respectful’ of the rights of people of color. They are often met by resistance because of their approach..that makes them a target also. The rhetoric is the same but as we can see these cops & EMS workers did not assist this man either through scorn or they just did not care. The sooner people of color realise that they are still considered to be 3/5ths of a person, then they will realise that they need to call for reparation and all people of color take control of their communities and countries. This worldwide design to keep them down will not benefit anyone and you children will pay for it.

  • Mark Ass

    That’s what you call a good old fashioned beat down! There should be more of these. Maybe there’d be less crime in this country

  • Macado

    They were sent to the location by the C.O. , to address the local shop store owners complaints, they were doing their job and Mr. Gardner passed away, he should of not resisted. Mr. Gardner should of put his hands behind his back and went with the police officers. He could of made a complaint. Those officers have the right to go home safe to. My condolences to the Gardner family, the family knows his history. The one thing I hate is that all cop haters show up when something like this happens. Oh that’s right Al Sharpen only shows up when he can yell, they killed him because he is African American and because he feeds off the poor dead African American . Well Mr. Sharpen why don’t you show up in brownsville and yell stop shooting and killing each other over nothing you have kids going to jail for armed robbery, shootings, and homicides. I will tell you why you don’t show up, because you can not make money off of that kind of crime. You love to yell white and black. If only the family knew how you operate. God bless this city.

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