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NYPD Lieutenant Texted ‘Not a Big Deal’ After Eric Garner Death

NYPD Lt. Christopher Bannon wrote “Not a big deal” in a text message when he was told that Eric Garner was likely dead on arrival after Officer Daniel Pantaleo applied what turned out to be a fatal chokehold during an arrest in July 2014. Garner could be heard repeating “I can’t breathe” 11 times on video taken at the scene, but Pantaleo, who is currently facing a disciplinary hearing that could lead to his termination, didn’t let the man go. Bannon wrote “Not a big deal. We were effecting a lawful arrest,” when he was told by a sergeant at the Staten Island scene that Garner had no pulse. The texts and testimony have triggered renewed anger about police brutality across the U.S. “I can’t breathe” became a powerful slogan of the Black Lives Matter movement.