Daniel Pantelo has finally been fired for killing Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold over five years ago in Staten Island. However, the fight is not over for the Garner family. Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, is vowing to go after the cops who allowed her son to die.
Outside of NYPD headquarters, Carr said, “Pantaleo, you may have lost your job, but I lost a son. You can get another job… maybe at Burger King.” She also said, “I’m not stopping this fight, adding, “we have other officers we want to go after. We know the wrongdoing they have done. New York is not safe with officers like that.”
Corruption was definitely exposed in the Garner case. For example, during the trial, NYPD officer Justin Damico admitted hat he trumped up the charges against Garner in an effort to justify his chokehold death.
“Officer Justin Damico testified that after riding in an ambulance with the dying Garner, he went ahead on his own and filled out arrest papers listing a felony tax charge that would have required prosecutors to prove Garner, a small-time street hustler, had sold 10,000 untaxed cigarettes,” the Associated Press reported.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill decision to fire Pantaleo came more than two months after the conclusion of an NYPD administrative trial to decide the professional fate of the officer, who has remained gainfully employed by the department since a video showed him using a banned chokehold on Garner, who was supposedly suspected of the nonviolent crime of selling loose and untaxed cigarettes in public. The status of Pantaleo’s NYPD pension was unclear after O’Neill’s announcement.
When asked if he thought justice was delivered, O’Neill said the process was “fair and impartial” while describing it as a “tragedy for the Garner family.”
Judge Rosemarie Maldonado recommended earlier this month that O’Neill should fire Pantaleo. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Maldonado said Pantaleo’s version of Garner’s death was “untruthful” and “disingenuous” during the disgraced cop’s accounts to investigators. She also said the other officers who testified were “unhelpful or unreliable.”
O’Neill said he “agreed with the content” of Maldonado’s recommendation.
Garner was approached by undercover NYPD officers on July 17, 2014, for the alleged offense of selling untaxed loose cigarettes. When officers failed at handcuffing him for the nonviolent misdemeanor, Pantaleo was caught on video with his arms wrapped tightly around Garner’s neck from behind. The chokehold ultimately killed Garner. The entire deadly episode was captured on cellphone video and filmed by a bystander. Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying call for social justice advocates who have maintained that his death was a murder.
The Department of Justice failed to bring any criminal charges against Pantaleo.