Transcript for NY Mayor Bill De Blasio says 'It Looks Like a Chokehold To Me' In Response To Recent Death
This disturbing video gone viral. The NYPD questioned over its use of force after this man died in the hospital. An hour after police attempted to arrest him for -- -- selling cigarettes on a Staten Island street hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York. New York City mayor bill -- Lazio's says it quote looks like a chokehold to meet. But he's also asking for patience as the investigation into 43 year old -- -- death continues with the latest here's Marcy Gonzales. Yeah. Video of a man being taken into police custody just before he died. Sparking controversy. And fueling major investigations. New York city police and prosecutors trying to determine whether NYPD officers used excessive force to a rest -- garner. For allegedly selling illegal cigarettes -- -- one officer and wrapping his arms around corners -- It was -- after resisting he's like I'm not resist -- amount resistant that officer Daniel -- -- Leo -- -- modified desk duty his badge and gun taken away while investigators look into whether this was technically a chokehold. A tactic banned by the NYPD. -- is that defined in the departments patrol -- that this would appear to have been. A chokehold the video then shows officers on top of garner pressing his face against the concrete. Garner was pronounced dead at a hospital an hour -- or. -- still. Investigators now also looking into the actions of several of the EMS workers who responded to the scene yeah. We're of them now also one modified duty as the outrage over this case roads. And on com main. Was subjected. To date shall call. And -- results is here is no longer witness. The NYPD says garner died of a heart attack but preliminary autopsy results from the medical Examiner's office aren't expected until later today at the earliest. -- Gonzales ABC news New York. Thanks -- we're joined now by Lloyd Thompson -- Staten Island based lawyer and former commanding officer. Of the NYPD Staten Island task force -- thank you for joining us thank you Michelle you've been on both sides of the NYPD both of the leader of one of the bureau's toughest special crime units. Then as one of a number of plaintiffs against the department in a wide ranging lawsuit. In this case cops are among the potential witnesses how does the internal affairs process. These kinds of cases. While internal affairs has to take all the information that they gathered from interviews with from everybody including police -- and the civilians that were present. And and and come up with a report and come up with findings. As we noted before -- -- -- said today that it looked to him like a chokehold do you think that will influence the way this investigation plays out. And what warrants a chokehold. When it comes to NYPD procedure. Well if you if you pay attention to what made the -- Bellagio said he said that. Repeat it. You have to wait for the findings to come out so it may appear to him to be it shall call but he wasn't they are neither was -- I've seen the film I've seen two films actually and from the video from from -- the scene and and what happened that day. And I believe that what will gonna have to wait and see what the findings are from the coronary 22 internal affairs two. -- the the DA from Staten Island to see what they come up -- Following the medical Examiner's report what exactly will internal affairs of this investigation be looking at to determine a chokehold. Well I didn't take a look at the at the fell at the video Obama I don't think it's that hard to see that there was some sort of -- around the that the perpetrators. -- -- but at the same time. On it didn't certainly looked as though on it was a full -- -- that it looked like it was modified. Hold should be able to subdue. And get control of the -- -- The mayor has said he is dedicated to improving police community relations one of the next step here. After -- investigation how -- isn't a lot of outrage in the public. -- -- of course there would be and I think it's gonna take -- a lot of patients are melodic community affairs. To be able to. I guess -- get things back to normal. But but certainly the idea white -- handled this in the past and I have no doubt they'll be able to handle it in the future. I have a lot of confidence the -- future. I want to go back to the investigation because that is where this is all going to center of the so called is considered illegal we've heard from the commissioner he also saying that it's no longer. Used but how strict are billing rules in what kind of mitigating circumstances might the officer point two when he is questioned. Well first I want to correct Michelle it's not illegal. -- it is just against the patrol guide the new York city police department has the patrol guide. -- and in that patrol guide less regulation eight against regulations it's not illegal. For ritual calls so -- let -- let's get that straight on secondly. I I believe that. -- at this point. It that the diplomas going to take a long hard look on at how they train the officers as well I think you're gonna need retraining and natural -- I believe that. And I don't speak for the department by the way OK I don't represent them but I do believe and I do -- -- all the time. On that the only -- when they hear about. So colds and the police academy so if you take into consideration. The length of time that this officer had I think he had five between five to ten years the last time we heard about a chokehold was trained in anything concerned that so called. Was it was in the police academy sort believe that they are gonna have -- -- retrain. So -- giving your experience and what you've seen what stands out to you when you look at this video you also said -- -- different video. Yeah I -- two videos wind from a gentleman that was on the street and I also -- A video for me. A female. Or at least it sound like a female in fight this storm a point where the incident happened. On an impulse videos I have to say I am -- looking at them -- the police were cool. And calm the they call for back up and -- waiter for back up until they took any sort of any any any sort of action whatsoever and wall. So they did it properly and that was the supervisor on the scene as well I did see his supervisor so I think that's it quite important that the supervisor -- is there as well. I think they did a fine job. I think the only the only problem is obviously the -- patrolled by prohibits the use of -- calls -- but I believe if you take a look at the circumstances. And the length -- time that officer had sexual called. On -- he's really I I I think the you'll you'll see ultimately. On the that this wasn't as heinous as is everybody making -- out today. And again the office served putting his arm around the neck it has yet to be determined. Whether under the regulations it's considered a chokehold. Certainly some outrage though in public about whether or not this unarmed man should've been. Had had that force used against him in the first place what are officers up against when they're out there in the field and does anything stand out to you in terms of possible excessive force. No I definitely not excessive force if you take a look at at the video of the one that's that's quite popular. On. On YouTube on you'll see that the U offices. The use -- use restraint on and what what what really point well what if I can give advice to anybody if an officer what what what you feel you should be arrested and if enormous tells you put your -- -- hands behind your back. Could you gonna get her are arrested. Arm and taken into the station house put your hands behind your back it would have been simple if all got fully had to deal if you gonna resist. Unfortunately this is what the police sources have to -- and -- what they face every day. On some people -- compliant some people aren't unfortunately in this case he wasn't compliant. So they they did what they had to do I -- -- and I'm sure nobody started the day thinking that they were going to end up. -- having someone -- in their custody. I think also the investigation also will take a look at all those angles of whether or not he was complying whether or not he wasn't -- officers have now been placed on desk duty. They have been allowed to keep their guns and badges and and then one was also taken away how much of that is the commissioner's decision and how much is simple union rules well. It that I did if you if you wise the soaring in the report said the union was gone quite quite upset about it Tom I don't speak for the union Hauspie for the police commissioner. If the police commission decides to take our guns away that's his choice and what he wants to do that and and and he ultimately -- -- make that decision. I guess along with the mayor I believe but but as far as the union is concerned I an eye to reports that I read. They were outraged that that that this war this it was a placed on modified -- has guns taken from. And again we are awaiting the investigation to finish up as well as the medical Examiner's report. On air -- death Lloyd Thompson thank you so much for joining us all thank you very much and please keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news happened starring this story. For those exclusive updates on ago. I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.