Ahead of an upcoming disciplinary hearing, the mother of Eric Garner has continued to call for the firing of the police officer who killed her son in 2014 by using a banned chokehold, an incident which elicited widespread outrage and helped spark a national conversation on police brutality.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo, of the New York Police Department, is set to appear at a departmental trial Dec. 6 in the hopes of defeating accusations made against him in the wake of the death of Garner, almost half a decade ago.
In a November 20 statement, Gwen Carr, Garner's mother, called for Pantaleo’s termination.
“[He] murdered my son with a chokehold that’s been banned by the NYPD for over 20 years,” Carr said, according to the New York Daily News. “Pantaleo should have been fired years ago. Instead, he has been taking home a six-figure salary with overtime every year since murdering Eric.”
She added that the “only fair and acceptable outcome” of the hearing is for it to result in the officer’s ousting from the police force.
“If this disciplinary hearing does not lead to a trial and Pantaleo losing his job, it will be a sham and a miscarriage of justice, plain and simple,” Carr said.
Additionally, Carr also demanded that three other officers who were present at the time of Garner's death be dismissed. Only Pantaleo and Sgt. Kizzy Adonis have faced charges related to the killing.
Pantaleo is charged with violating departmental regulations, while Adonis was charged with failing to supervise.
“The NYPD should fire Pantaleo and all of the other officers who were responsible for misconduct related to my son's murder,” said Carr. “In order for this to happen, Mayor de Blasio must release all of their names and ensure that the NYPD bring charges against the other officers who engaged in misconduct.”
Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stu London, said on November 19 that he was “looking forward to eventually being vindicated on the merits of the case.”
Police have said that Garner had been selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk and refused to cooperate when approached by officers, leading to a physical altercation with Pantaleo, who choked Garner from behind.
A video of the scene, which depicted Garner repeatedly telling police "I can't breathe," was caught by onlookers and went viral, catalyzing national demonstrations from activists calling attention to the incident. A medical examiner later ruled that Garner had died from the chokehold and chest compression. Pantaleo was placed on desk duty shortly thereafter.
A grand jury in December of 2014 chose not to indict Pantaleo for the death, deciding that he had not willingly set out to violate Garner's rights. At the time, London claimed that Pantaleo was not intentionally hurting Garner.
“He wanted to get across to the grand jury that it was never his intention to injure or harm anyone,” Mr. London said, characterizing the banned chokehold as a "wrestling move," according to The New York Times. “He was really just describing how he was attempting to arrest someone.”
The NYPD decided to move forward with an internal hearing in June of 2018, amidst an ongoing investigation into the incident by the United States Department of Justice.
“The NYPD has come to the conclusion that given the extraordinary passage of time since the incident without a final decision on the US DOJ’s criminal investigation, any further delay in moving ahead with our own disciplinary proceedings can no longer be justified,” the letter, sent from Lawrence Byrne, the department’s deputy commissioner of legal matters, to Paige Fitzgerald, a deputy chief at the Department of Justice, said, according to the New York Post.
Locals on Staten Island remain outraged by the officers’ actions.
“How do you not have a ruling on this already?” said Harry Domfe, a Staten Island resident, to the New York Post. “There’s video evidence of [Garner] dying in front of us.”
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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