An officer who was involved in the struggle that ultimately led to Eric Garner’s death, following a confrontation over selling loose cigarettes five years ago, admitted to exaggerating charges against Garner in court on Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press, NYPD Officer Justin Damico acknowledged that after riding in an ambulance with Garner he filled out arrest papers that included a felony tax charge, which would have required prosecutors to prove that Garner had sold 10,000 untaxed cigarettes.
All of this, while Garner was dying.
“You initiated this on your own, writing up the arrest of a dead man?” Suzanne O’Hare, a lawyer with the Civilian Complaint Review Board asked Damico.
Damico admitted that the felony charge was wrong because Garner only had five packs of Newports on him, which would have held less than 100 cigarettes.
The officer was testifying during the disciplinary trial of his colleague, Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused of placing Garner in a banned chokehold as officers attempted to arrest him.