On July 17, 2014, New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner on video. On Tuesday (July 16), The New York Times reported that the United States Department of Justice will not bring federal civil rights charges against Pantaleo, who employed an illegal chokehold on the 43-year-old Black man.
Federal prosecutors will reportedly announce the decision today, which is the deadline by which they needed to make a decision. A grand jury failed to indict Pantaleo in 2014; now, the only discipline for his actions could come from the city’s police commissioner, James P. O’Neil. He is waiting to receive a verdict from the police administrative judge who presided over his disciplinary trial.
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, gave a statement:
“We’re not going away,” Eric Garner’s mother says following DOJ decision.
“You think it’s swept under the rug? No! It’s not going to be swept under the rug. Because, I’m out here. You all know my face. You’re going to see it even more now.” https://t.co/aLS5pDb9Y1 pic.twitter.com/SBu7TyVl2L
— ABC News (@ABC) July 16, 2019
This is a major miscarriage of justice, and for the Department of Justice to announce this one day before the fifth anniversary of Eric Garner’s death sends a disrespectful message that Black bodies are dispensable to the NYPD and all who’ve had the power to act over the past five years. Millions of us watched Eric beg for his life, eleven times, while Officer Pantaleo and other officers around him ignored his cries. Our communities will never rebuild trust in the police to protect and serve without accountability, and we will look to Mayor de Blasio to take real action in response to this devastating decision from the DOJ.
*Story has been updated to include statement.