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Prayers, tears for man who died in NY police custody after being put in apparent chokehold

  • APTOPIX Arrest Struggle Death-1.jpg

    Funeral services are held for Eric Garner at Bethel Baptist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. An overflow crowd packed a church for the funeral of the man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, Julia Xanthos, Pool) (The Associated Press)

  • Arrest Struggle Death-2.jpg

    Gwen Carr hugs Ramsey Orta at the funeral for Carr's son Eric Garner, on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Garner died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold. Orta shot video of the incident. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, Julia Xanthos, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Emerald Garner stands next to the coffin of her father, Eric Garner, during his funeral at Bethel Baptist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Garner died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, James Keivom, Pool) (The Associated Press)

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    Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, center, leaves the funeral service of her son, the 43-year-old New York City man whose death while in police custody has led to accusations of police misconduct, at Bethel Baptist Church, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. An amateur video shows a plainclothes police officer placing Garner in what appears be a chokehold last Thursday on Staten Island. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) (The Associated Press)

Gospel music mixed with grief at a Brooklyn church filled with mourners for the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold.

The service for Eric Garner Wednesday at Brooklyn's Bethel Baptist Church opened with a mix of solemn prayer and an organ-backed gospel medley. Garner's relatives stopped in front of his open casket, some weeping and wailing.

Garner, who had asthma, died last week on Staten Island. An amateur video shows a plainclothes police officer placing him in what appears be a chokehold. The 43-year-old Garner can be heard gasping, "I can't breathe!"

The Rev. Al Sharpton told the crowd he was scheduled to meet Friday with the U.S. attorney's office, and he called for a civil rights probe.

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