New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James P. O’Neill has finally fired the officer who using an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner and killed him on July 17, 2014, The Washington Post reported Monday (August 19). Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s dismissal is effective immediately.
“This is a tragedy for the Garner family. Garner was somebody’s son, somebody’s dad,” O’Neill said during a televised press conference. “Today is a day of reckoning, but can also be a day of reconciliation.”
Pantaleo’s firing came on the heels of a 46-page report in which Rosemarie Maldonado, deputy commissioner of trials, recommended that Pantaleo be terminated from the force. “I found Respondent to be disingenuous when he viewed the video and denied using a chokehold, even though his actions were completely consistent with his own erroneous and restrictive definition of the Patrol Guide prohibition,” Maldonado wrote. She came to her conclusion after the United States Department of Justice declined to bring federal civil rights charges against him on July 16. Pantaleo was suspended on August 2, but he worked for five years after killing Garner on video.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s deserved termination, at long last, is not an occasion to celebrate. While Eric Garner’s killer has finally been punished for his actions, albeit not in a court of law, the officers who assisted Pantaleo in aiding his attempted cover up have largely evaded justice. Today is a sad day, because the firing of a dishonest officer provides cover to the NYPD to continue resisting our continued calls for more accountability and transparency. We also have no doubt the mayor will now return to Iowa rather than implementing reforms in the city he was elected to serve. Commissioner James P. O’Neill made the only decision he could have—Daniel Pantaleo had to be fired. But for the NYPD, and for the mayor, they will continue to be complicit in a system that stretches itself beyond all decency to value White lives over Black lives.
Garner’s daughter Emerald Snipes-Garner made a statement during a press conference, during which she thanked supporters for their five years of protest. Per The Washington Post: “For Commissioner O’Neill, I thank you for firing the officer,” said Snipes-Garner. “However you came to the decision, you finally made the decision that should’ve been made five years ago. But we will go after the rest of the officers involved. It’s not over.”