Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD cop who was accused of accidentally killing unarmed black man Eric Garner by using an unauthorized chokehold technique, was fired by the NYPD on Monday, even after several city newspapers, including the New York Post, defended him in editorials.
Until shortly before the firing, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is still out shaking hands in Iowa to further his Quixotic campaign for the 2020 nomination, hadn’t indicated whether he would follow a Department judge’s recommendation that Pantaleo be fired for being “untruthful” during the internal investigation into his actions.
Pantaleo was called to the scene on that fateful day in July 2014 about a complaint about a man – Garner – who was allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes near a bodega on Staten Island. Garner had been arrested for the crime many times before.
But when Pantaleo and his partner approached Garner that day, the suspect said he was “tired” of the police harassment, and resisted arrest. Ultimately, as video showed, Pantaleo first tried to restrain Garner, who, at 6’3 and 350, was much larger than Pantaleo, with what’s called a “seat belt hold”.
Pantaleo’s attorney later argued that his client’s arm slipped during the process of restraining Garner into the infamous “chokehold” that became the focus of the investigation.
During the struggle, Garner passed away, after straining to tell officers “I can’t breath.”
Pantaleo was acquitted by a grand jury five months after being indicted for Garner’s murder. His acquittal set off waves of protests. The Chief Medical Examiner of New York ruled Garner’s death a homicide.
Patrick Lynch, president of the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, warned the top NYPD brass that Pantaleo’s termination would be a massive blow to morale, per NBC.
“He will lose his police department,” Lynch had said about NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.
Pantaleo has been on suspension since earlier this month, when a department judge ruled that he should be fired. Earlier in the summer, federal prosecutors finally ended a five-year civil rights probe and determined that Pantaleo shouldn’t be indicted on those charges, either.