New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said the death of a 43-year-old Staten Island man who may have been placed in a chokehold by a police officer last week would probably spark a federal review and could lead to a probe into possible civil rights violations.
Speaking at a Tuesday afternoon briefing, Bratton said the death of Eric Garner highlighted a need for improved training, and said he would send a contingent of officers to Los Angeles to develop new training regimens.
Bratton also said he expected there would be "a retraining of every member of the New York Police Department" in the wake of the incident.
The FBI may also review Garner's death, according to Bratton, who said he would not be surprised if the local U.S. attorney opened a probe to see whether Garner's civil rights were violated.
The clash between Garner and police, which has boiled over into a days-long controversy, unfolded in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island on July 17. Garner's death sparked protests and angry rebukes from politicians.
According to several videos of the incident and police officials, officers from the department's 120th Precinct approached Garner about the sale of untaxed cigarettes. An argument broke out, and Garner was taken down to the ground in what appeared to be a choke.
The 43-year-old, a chronic asthmatic and father, died an hour later at a hospital.
The officer purportedly caught on video applying the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, has been placed on modified duty and stripped of his gun, according to the department.
Julie Bolcer, a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner's Office, told the Los Angeles Times that a routine autopsy was completed, but the "cause and manner" of Garner's death have yet to be determined.
Garner's body has been claimed by his family, but the medical examiner has to conduct additional tests to determine a cause of death, Bolcer said.
A representative for the Los Angeles Police Department was not immediately available to respond to Bratton's comment.
Susman reported from New York and Queally from Los Angeles.