The Judge presiding over Pantaleo’s disciplinary trial recommended his dismissal which was then subsequently announced by the New York City Police Department's Commissioner James O’Neill
The New York City Police Department has announced on Monday that they have dismissed Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was responsible for the death of Staten man Eric Garner back in 2014. The decision was announced by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, and it came just two weeks after the judge presiding over Pantaleo’s disciplinary trial made a nonbinding recommendation for his dismissal.
BREAKING: NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, whose deadly chokehold on Eric Garner in 2014 helped give rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, has been fired by the police commissioner, following the recommendation of an administrative judge— Joseph Ax (@josephax) August 19, 2019
“None of us can take back our decisions, most especially when they lead to the death of another human being,” O’Neill said in a news conference Monday announcing Pantaleo’s firing. Commissioner O'Neill did agree that it wasn't an act of "malice" per-say as he felt that even he himself could have made "similar mistakes" when doing the arrest. But the fact that Pantaleo did not follow protocol when dealing with a person resisting arrest has its consequences, and that's exactly why he had to make the decision to dismiss him from active duty and service.
“Being a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in the world,” the commissioner said. “That is not a statement to elicit sympathy from those we serve, it’s a fact.” “Being a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in the world,” the commissioner said. “That is not a statement to elicit sympathy from those we serve, it’s a fact.”
For over 5 years, the Garner family & communities across the country have waited for justice in the death of Eric Garner.— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) August 19, 2019
With the termination of Officer Pantaleo, today some semblance of justice is finally being served.
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in the New York City borough of Staten Island after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer, put him in a chokehold while arresting him. Video footage of the incident generated widespread national attention and raised questions about the appropriate use of force by law enforcement.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo has been fired for applying a prohibited, banned chokehold and maintaining it until Eric Garner died.— Shaun King (@shaunking) August 19, 2019
Following the incident, Officer Pantaleo was to be indicted by a Richmond County grand jury, but on December 3, 2014, the decision was ruled in his favor and he wasn't charged for the murder. This led to nationwide unrest and widespread public protest and rallies. There had been over 50 public demonstrations to protest against police brutality within a month of the verdict. On July 13, 2015, an out-of-court settlement was announced in which the City of New York would pay the Garner family $5.9 million. Recently, on July 17, 2019, the 5th anniversary of the event marked a protest by members of the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
I am so livid about the #EricGarner story & the officer being fired now, FIVE YEARS LATER! He said I can’t breathe eleven times! But yet he should have complied with the officer, yeah well the officer shouldn’t have used an illegal chokehold? Maybe?— Rachel (@rachbee24) August 19, 2019
And now, 5 years on from the incident, the U.S. Department of Justice declined to bring criminal charges against Pantaleo under federal civil rights laws. However, the administrative judge who was overseeing the trial recommended his dismissal, which has seemed to have worked as the NYPD's announcement came shortly after. Aside from the judge, New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board also agreed that Officer Pantaleo be dismissed with immediate effect.
“The evidence the CCRB’s prosecutors brought forth at trial was more than sufficient to prove that Pantaleo is unfit to serve,” the board said in a statement. “Commissioner O’Neill must uphold this verdict and dismiss Pantaleo from the Department.”
It took 5 years, countless rallies, nationwide activism, multiple investigations, & a judges recommendation just to get Daniel Pantaleo fired for killing #EricGarner on video, using a banned chokehold. Please stop saying ‘we’re past racism’ in America. You’re lying to yourself.— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) August 19, 2019
"Trials Commissioner Maldonado ruled that officer Pantaleo’s use of a prohibited chokehold was reckless and constituted a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer," NYPD chief James O'Neill said. https://t.co/t55EMOkyhR pic.twitter.com/c2ErSiG9IT— CNN (@CNN) August 19, 2019
Following the announcement of Officer Pantaleo on Monday, Emerald Snipers Garner, one of Eric Garner's daughters, thanked O'Neill and the police department for their decision.
"Commissioner O'Neill, I thank you for doing the right thing," she told reporters during a press conference at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network. "I truly, sincerely thank you for firing the officer, regardless of however you came up to your decision. You finally made the decision that should've been made five years ago.". "We can’t talk about what happened in the past," Emerald Snipes Garner added. "We can only talk about what we’re gonna do to move forward."
JUST IN: NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill announces that Daniel Pantaleo, who put Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold, will no longer serve as a police officer pic.twitter.com/VMKXOJnOWA— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) August 19, 2019
Eric Garner’s final words before then Officer Daniel Pantaleo used an illegal and fatal chokehold on Garner in 2014. pic.twitter.com/Wegv7DXmh2— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) August 19, 2019
However, not everyone was in favor of firing Officer Pantaleo. Patrick J. Lynch, president of the city's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said prior to the dismissal that terminating Pantaleo would deal a severe blow to the morale of the rest of the officers. Minutes after the police commissioner announced his decision to fire Pantaleo on Monday, Lynch said O'Neill had permanently lost the confidence of officers on the beat.
"The NYPD will remain rudderless and frozen, and Commissioner O'Neill will never be able to bring it back," Lynch said in a statement. "Now it is time for every police officer in this city to make their own choice. We are urging all New York City police officers to proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality, in which they may be deemed 'reckless' just for doing their job. We will uphold our oath, but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety."