Officer says he inflated charge against chokehold victim

After Eric Garner died following a confrontation with New York City police in 2014, one officer involved in the struggle says he wrote up paperwork exaggerating the seriousness of the dead man's suspected crime.

Officer Justin Damico testified Tuesday during the disciplinary trial of officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo is accused of placing Garner in a banned chokehold during the arrest.

Garner was suspected of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

After he died, Damico said he filled out arrest papers that included a felony tax charge that would have required prosecutors to prove he'd sold 10,000 untaxed cigarettes.

Damico acknowledged it was not the correct charge.

Damico said Garner had fewer than 100 cigarettes on him when police tried to arrest him.


This story has been corrected to show that the last name of the officer who testified is Damico, not D'Amico.