Officer Justin Damico said that after riding in an ambulance with the dying Garner, he filled out arrest papers listing a felony tax charge that would have required prosecutors to prove Garner, a small-time street hustler, had sold 10,000 untaxed cigarettes.
asked Suzanne O’Hare, a lawyer for the police watchdog agency bringing the disciplinary case against Pantaleo.
Damico acknowledged that the felony charge was incorrect because Garner actually had with him five packs of Newports that contained a total of less than 100 cigarettes.
Garner was ultimately posthumously charged with two misdemeanors, which alleged he resisted arrest and sold untaxed cigarettes.
Damico’s testimony was often revealing, giving the never-before-heard perspective of the one officer who had been with Pantaleo throughout the confrontation.
Once Pantaleo grabbed Garner and pulled him to the ground, Damico said he just assumed that Garner was faking unresponsiveness — “playing possum” — to get out of being arrested.
An officer who arrived as Garner was being restrained testified that he had the same thought. »