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Rep. Peter King blames Eric Garner’s death on health problems

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) speaks to the media

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill on Sept. 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Eric Garner, the man who NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo held in an apparent chokehold, almost certainly would not have died had he not had health problems such as asthma and obesity, Rep. Peter King said Wednesday night.

"You had a 350-pound person who was resisting arrest. The police were trying to bring him down as quickly as possible,” King, a Seaford Republican who represents Long Island’s 2nd Congressional District, said on CNN's "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer." "If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, then almost definitely he would not have died from this. The police had no reason to know that he was in serious condition.”

In the video, which has since been picked up by multiple media outlets, King said he agreed with a grand jury’s decision not to indict Pantaleo in the July 17 death of Garner. Police were trying to arrest Garner, 43, for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island.

“Once he started [to] resist arrest, they had no choice but to try to bring him down, and I don’t think there’s any evidence at all, any indication, that they wanted to choke him, or they wanted to kill him or cause any severe harm at all,” King said.

Watch King’s remarks: (Mobile users can view the video at


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