Garner was put in a headlock by police for only a few seconds as they attempted to get him to the ground, and he never lost consciousness. The officer also never cinched down on the headlock. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway because from that angle, with that hold, you aren’t cutting off the flow of oxygen or blood. You aren’t putting anyone to sleep with that hold. Especially in the short amount of time he was actually in the headlock. There never was an actual choke hold. He also wouldn’t have been put in a headlock if he hadn’t pulled away from officers attempting to cuff him.
The debate about whether the officers should have attempted to take him into custody is a valid debate, though it should be noted that they don’t appear to have broken any laws. If they considered him a suspect in a crime, they have every right to take him into custody. Even if he was innocent of any wrongdoing, he doesn’t have the right to attempt to avoid being taken into custody. He has to let the legal process play out, and unfortunately, he didn’t allow that to happen.
I made a nice little graphic to illustrate the difference between a headlock and a rear naked choke (the official name of the hold the officer is falsely accused of using). This should help to clear up any confusion for the non-trained out there.
Again, debating police conduct and Garner’s conduct in this case are completely valid. Falsely accusing an officer of using a rear naked choke (or any choke for that matter) to kill someone is not valid, and only serves to perpetuate ignorance.