Official: Police chokehold caused NYC man’s death

The Rev. Al Sharpton leads a rally for Eric Garner at the National Action Network headquarters, Saturday, July 26, 2014, in New York. Eric Garner, 43, died on Thursday, July 18, during an arrest in Staten Island, when a plain-clothes police officer placed him in what appeared be a choke hold while several others brought him to the ground and struggled to place him in handcuffs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The Rev. Al Sharpton leads a rally for Eric Garner at the National Action Network headquarters, Saturday, July 26, 2014, in New York. Eric Garner, 43, died on Thursday, July 18, during an arrest in Staten Island, when a plain-clothes police officer placed him in what appeared be a choke hold while several others brought him to the ground and struggled to place him in handcuffs. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
FILE- In this undated family file photo provided by the National Action Network, Saturday, July 19, 2014, Eric Garner is shown. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the New York City medical examiner after it was determined that a choke hold police used while trying to arrest him in July 2014, caused his death. (AP Photo/Family photo via National Action Network, File)
FILE- In this undated family file photo provided by the National Action Network, Saturday, July 19, 2014, Eric Garner is shown (AP Photo/Family photo via National Action Network, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – The medical examiner has ruled that a police officer’s chokehold on a New York City man last month caused his death.

Medical examiner spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said Friday that Eric Garner’s July 17 death was ruled a homicide.

Bolcer says his death was caused by “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” She says asthma and heart disease were contributing factors.

Garner, who is black, was being arrested for selling untaxed, loose cigarettes. Video shows him being placed in a chokehold by a white officer.

The video has caused widespread outcry, and Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department is “closely monitoring” the investigation into his death.

The NYPD hasn’t responded to a request for comment on the medical examiner’s ruling.

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