The “I Can’t Breathe” victim won a $75,000 lawsuit settlement against the city of New York after a chokehold incident occurring in 2013 by NYPD, the New York Daily News reports.
Although chokeholds were banned in 1993 by NYPD, it didn’t stop police officers from executing the dangerous stunt on February 9, 2013.
Kevin Dennis-Palmer, 28-year-old married father of two from Brooklyn, New York, claims the New York City Police Department used excessive force on him during a traffic stop, which resulted in Dennis-Palmer screaming the words, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
These are the same words Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, screamed when he was placed in a chokehold by Staten Island police. This encounter with officers would ultimately lead to his death, according to the New York Times.
“It makes you realize how truly blessed you are to get out of that situation,” Dennis-Palmer said in regards to Garner’s death.
The incident began when Dennis-Palmer was parallel parking his vehicle near his home in Brownsville. Two police officers, Sgt. Burt Antoine and Officer Ryan Monteleone, then pulled up behind him, flashing their lights. Immediately, Dennis-Palmer asked the officers why he was being stopped while simultaneously pulling out his smartphone and recording the interchange.
“Why am I being stopped?” Dennis-Palmers asked one of the officers.
“You give me your license and registration and I’ll tell you why you’re being stopped,” was the response from one of the officers.
“I knew it was going to take a bad turn,” he thought.
“My phone is slapped out of my hand. I’m Maced and then they’re trying to drag me out of the car and I’m telling them, ‘I’m stuck, I can’t get out of the car.'”
It was reported that Dennis-Palmer was asked to get out of his vehicle, but couldn’t do so immediately due to his large frame. Apparently, the officers began pepper spraying him and attempting to get him through the window.
Before Dennis-Palmer knew it, at least eight officers were at the scene.
Once out of his vehicle, he was laid faced down on the pavement where officers grabbed him by his neck and placed him in a chokehold.
Just like Garner, Dennis-Palmer suffers from asthma.
“I’m grabbed, basically by the back of my sweater, turned around and slammed down on the right side of my face. That’s when the melee ensues and everyone jumps on me. I’m yelling, ‘I can’t breathe — you’re choking me! Just put the handcuffs on! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!'”
The “I can’t breathe” victim was eventually apprehended and charged with resisting arrest. He was later sent to the Methodist hospital to treat a knot on his head and a swollen eye.
Dennis-Palmer’s attorney shed light on the importance of his settlement.
“No one suit is what forces change. It’s the accumulation of them that fosters public awareness… and the public’s demand for accountability.”
According to the New York Times, the reason Dennis-Palmer was pulled over was due to his illegally tinted windows. He was later charged with refusing to hand over his license and registration, but those charges have since been dropped.
[Image via NY Daily News]