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Four New York City emergency workers put on 'modified duty' in response to chokehold death

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July 19, 2014: Pedestrians sit near a memorial for Eric Garner erected near the site of his death. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Four New York City emergency workers have been barred from responding to 911 calls amid an investigation into the medical response to a man who died in police custody after being put in an apparent chokehold during his arrest. 

Officials told the New York Post that the move does not indicate wrongdoing on the part of the two medics and two EMTs, who are employed by Richmond University Medical Center on Staten Island. 

Earlier Sunday, the Post reported that a seven-minute YouTube video showed that the medics violated several procedures when they arrived to treat Eric Garner Thursday. Citing sources in the city's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the paper reported that the video showed one medic arriving at Garner's side without any equipment like an oxygen bag or defibrillator. 

The Post also reported that protocol called for Garner to be placed on a stretcher and had his airway, breathing and circulation checked out by an EMT. Instead, the EMT featured in the video reportedly never used a stethoscope to check Garner's lungs and didn't connect him to an oxygen mask. 

More than three minutes into the video, a medic checked Garner's pulse. About two minutes later, Garner was lifted onto a gurney and transported to a waiting ambulance. When a bystander asked why no one is performing CPR, one officer responded, "because he's breathing."

The restrictions on the medical personnel came a day after the police department said it reassigned Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who used the apparent chokehold on Garner, and another unidentified officer to desk duty while prosecutors and internal affairs detectives investigate. Chokeholds are banned under department policy.

The department said it stripped Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran of the force, of his gun and badge.

Court records show that within the past two years, three men sued Pantaleo in federal court over allegedly unlawful, racially motivated arrests. Pantaleo did not return a telephone message.

Earlier Sunday, the Rev. Al Sharpton demanded justice for Garner and accountability from citizens who attack police officers during an appeal from the pulpit at Manhattan's Riverside Church.

Garner was "choked by New York City policemen," the Harlem preacher told the congregation. "What bothers me is that the nation watches a man say `I can't breathe' and the choking continues, and police surround him and none of them even say, `Wait a minute, stop! He can't breathe!"'

Garner's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at the Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

Video of Garner's struggle with police obtained by the New York Daily News shows the 6-foot-3, 350-pound man becoming irate and refusing to be handcuffed.

Garner, who has been arrested for illegally selling cigarettes numerous times in recent years, told the officers who confronted him that he had not done anything wrong, according to the video of the arrest.

"Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today," Garner shouts. "I'm minding my business. Please just leave me alone."

Then, as four officers bring him down to the sidewalk, Garner, who was asthmatic, gasps, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" The video shows one officer using his hands to push Garner's face into the sidewalk.

Click for more from The New York Post

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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