The two police officers who were involved with trying to arrest a Staten Island man—and killing him in the process when one put him in a chokehold—were taken off the streets. Officers Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran, and Justin Damico, who has been with the NYPD for four years, are now on desk duty.

Police, who say that Eric Garner, 43, was selling untaxed cigarettes, attempted to handcuff him around 4:45 p.m. on Thursday outside 202 Bay Street in Tompkinsville. A disturbing video obtained by the Daily News shows Garner arguing with the police: "I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!" When a number of cops try to subdue him, Garner, who weighed 350 pounds, is seen swatting their hands away and saying, "Don’t touch me, please."

One officer puts him in a chokehold as the others struggle to pull him to the ground and get his arms behind his back. Garner, an asthmatic, can be heard repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe." The NYPD says he went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at Richmond University Medical Center.

At a press conference yesterday, Police Commissioner Bratton said, "This would appear to have been a chokehold as defined in the department's patrol guide. But the investigation will seek to confirm that." Chokeholds are explicitly prohibited in the patrol guide.

A source told the Post, "There’s a very high chance that the officer who put him in a chokehold would lose his job. It violates protocol. It violates a direct rule which is never to put somebody in a chokehold."

Mayor de Blasio, who delayed his trip to Italy by a day because of Garner's death, said yesterday, "This is a terrible tragedy no family should have to experience. Like so many New Yorkers I was very troubled by the video." But he did stress, "It is too early to jump to any conclusions about this case. We must wait for all the facts and details about the incident to emerge. I assure all New Yorkers there will be a full and thorough investigation.

Lloyd Thompson, a lawyer and former NYPD commanding officer, told the Staten Island Advance, "If choking is prohibited in the (police) Patrol Guide they shouldn't have done it. But in the heat of the moment, you have to do what you have to do if someone doesn't want to be arrested. You have to take a look at the circumstances."

The Advance added, "Thompson emphasized that the Patrol Guide, which prohibits chokeholds, is a guide and is not the law," and had more insight from Eugene O'Donnell, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, "The fact that someone dies in police custody doesn't make it a crime... The bottom line is that police are authorized to use force on people, but, truthfully, the police don't have a lot of direction and training in using force. When the rubber meets the road, they sort of have to improvise in real time. Force is always ugly, it's risky."

Garner's family is both upset and furious. His grieving wife, Esaw Garner, spoke to the News' Dennis Hamill:

“I couldn’t watch the video of my husband being taken down last night. I was too upset. I never slept. I watched it this morning and I got even more upset."

It was clear to her what happened to her husband, Eric Garner, outside a beauty shop in Tompkinsville.

“They killed him,” she said. “They choked him and took him down and I could hear him screaming that he couldn’t breathe. It was so hard to watch. He was a nonviolent gentle giant and they killed him.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed the Garner family at the National Action Network today:

Sharpton said, "We are not going to stop until we get justice for this man."