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Eric Garner’s Death Examined in ‘American Trial’ REELZ Documentary

Eric Garner was restrained and taken to the ground by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo on a Staten Island, New York, sidewalk on July 17, 2014. Garner died that day and his dying words were “I can’t breathe.”

The incident was captured on video. But, unlike the aftermath of the George Floyd incident this year, Pantaleo was never charged with a crime. A state grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo on criminal charges, though the officer was later fired from the New York Police Department.

This unscripted courtroom drama presents both a case against and a defense of NYPD officer Pantaleo.

The drama presents real police evidence and uses actual witnesses in a mock trial that follows criminal courtroom rules for trial evidence with real prosecutors and defense attorneys in a real-world example of the adversarial process that is central to the American legal system.

Eric Garner Death Examined in American Trial REELZ Documentary
Eric Garner

The docu-drama features Garner’s widow, Esaw Snipes Garner, attorney and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz as well as renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who was retained by the Garner family to perform an independent autopsy.

The docu-drama also includes news coverage from 2014 of the Eric Garner arrest and reaction in the days and weeks that followed. The unscripted television event examines whether Pantaleo should be found guilty or not after considering the evidence and testimony presented in the special.

“The producers achieved an accurate and faithful depiction of the adversarial process at the heart of our criminal justice system that is as captivating as it is informative. This film may offer a window into the future as the prosecutions in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd move through our legal system,” said REELZ CEO Stan E. Hubbard.

For more, watch American Trial: The Eric Garner Story on REELZ on Saturday, June 20, at 8 p.m. ET.

Watch REELZ on DIRECTV 238, Dish Network 299, Verizon FiOS 692, AT&T U-verse 1799 and in HD on cable systems and streaming services nationwide. Find REELZ on your local cable or satellite provider at

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