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Panel probes secrecy of NYPD records in fatal chokehold case

NEW YORK -- A New York appeals court has heard arguments for and against releasing the disciplinary records of the officer at the center of Eric Garner’s chokehold death

The New York Post reports that one judge on the panel asked Thursday why jurists’ disciplinary records are public but not officers’.

A lower court judge has ordered the records’ release.

But lawyers for Mayor Bill de Blasio appealed. They cite a 40-year-old state civil rights law that allows the withholding of records used to evaluate the performance of police, firefighters and jail guards.

Advocates say the law doesn’t allow for transparency in government. De Blasio has said state legislatures should rewrite it.

Garner is heard saying “I can’t breathe!” repeatedly in a video that partially recorded his 2014 encounter with police. In the video, he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed, and within moments, stopped struggling and appeared to go unconscious.

Another video that showed what happened after Garner was on the ground raised questions about whether the police and first responders tried hard enough to try to save Garner.

In July 2015, New York City announced a $5.9 million settlement with Garner’s family.

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