Tonight America's largest police force is facing a serious controversy over a video that's going viral showing officers arrest a suspect who later died. The video is wrenching, and here's ABC's Ron... See More
Tonight America's largest police force is facing a serious controversy over a video that's going viral showing officers arrest a suspect who later died. The video is wrenching, and here's ABC's Ron Claiborne. Reporter: In the video, you can see 43-year-old Eric garner confronted by two plainclothes officers for allegedly peddling illegal cigarettes. I didn't do nothing. What did I do? Reporter: The officers move in to arrest him. One of them puts his forearm around garner's neck. More police join in pinning him to the ground as he cries out. I can't breathe! I can't breathe! Reporter: The father of six was rushed to a local hospital where he died. They snatched my heart right out of my chest. I'm an empty shell right now. Reporter: The incident has stirred racial tensions in the city. An unarmed man was subjected to a chokehold and the result is he is no longer with us. Reporter: As he spoke, garner's wife collapsing by his side. At issue is whether garner was placed in a chokehold, a tactic banned by New York police. As defined in the department's patrol guide, this would appear to have been a chokehold. Reporter: Police officers also appear to sit on garner once he was on the ground, which could violate another NYPD policy. Two of the arresting officers have been placed on desk duty while the incident is investigated by both police and prosecutors. This is pending autopsy results that determine the cause of garner's death. Tonight the patrolman officers' union tells ABC news that sometimes police have to employ the use of force in order to get compliance from an individual. The union went on to say that when taken out of context, necessary force can be misinterpreted, Dan, as excessive. A lot more to come. Thank you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.