The apparent violence of the arrest led to outrage and the internal investigation. On line, numerous people tweeted #JusticeforEricGarner, calling attention to the deadly incident.
Policeman's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, questioned by ABC News about what constitutes an appropriate use of force, said the public should not rush to judge before the official investigation is concluded.
"At times, when officers are required to make an arrest, they must employ the use of force in order to get compliance from an individual who NYPD policy requires must be rear-cuffed for transport to a precinct," Lynch said. "Force, by its very nature, is an ugly thing to witness. Taken out of the context of what is happening, necessary force can be misinterpreted to be excessive by those who are not trained in law enforcement procedures."
ABC News' Dean Schabner contributed to this report.