Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer accused of placing Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in 2014, has been suspended.
“Officer Pantaleo has been suspended, effective today, as is the longstanding practice in these matters when the recommendation is termination,” a NYPD statement said. “All of New York City understandably seeks closure to this difficult chapter in our City’s history. Premature statements or judgments before the process is complete however cannot and will not be made.”
Rosemarie Maldonado, the administrative judge who oversaw his spring disciplinary trial, has recommended the firing of Pantaleo. The city agency has two weeks to execute their final decision, as Pantaleo’s final fate lays in the hands of NYPD’s Commissioner James O’Neill.
Plans to follow the judge’s recommendation is unknown, but CNN reports one senior law enforcement official believes O’Neill will follow the recommendation of the judge’s ruling.
Pantaleo’s defense attorney, Stuart London, said his client was “obviously disappointed” about his suspension, but is a "strong individual" who "understands the process."
In July, Pantaleo escaped criminal indictment for the final time when Attorney General William Bar declined to file federal charges, just one day before the five-year statute of limitations expired.
The cop initially ducked criminal charges back in 2014.
A New York Richmond County grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo, allowing him to ultimately
It’s been five years of civil unrest as Eric Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” sparked national protests and outrage against police violence toward unarmed Black men and women.
The July 17, 2014 fatal encounter was videoed on a bystander’s cellphone.
The video shows officers, including Pantaleo, accusing the 43-year-old of selling loose cigarettes on a Staten Island sidewalk. In an attempt to handcuff him, Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold, a move banned by the NYPD over two decades ago.
A medical examiner later testified that the pressure from Pantaleo’s chokehold triggered a fatal asthma attack.
Garner’s death was ruled a homicide.
“This has been a long battle. Five years too long,” cried Eric Garner’s daughter, Emerald, in a press conference Friday. “Finally, somebody has said that there's some information that this cop has done something wrong. Commissioner O’Neill, fire Pantaleo.”
In 2015, New York City officials agreed to pay Garner’s family nearly six million in a civil lawsuit.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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