NYPD fires Daniel Pantaleo over Eric Garner chokehold death

NYPD officer was ‘untruthful’ when he denied putting Eric Garner in chokehold says city judge who recommends his firing

The white New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, has been fired, marking a turning point in a case that captured the nation's attention and prompted protests from coast to coast over the use of excessive force by police.

The final decision of Pantaleo's employment rests with New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill, who is expected to issue his decision as soon as Monday.

Garner, who was black, died during a 2014 arrest in Staten Island for the sale of untaxed cigarettes when he refused to be handcuffed by several officers. Video footage of the encounter appears to show Pantaleo holding Garner in a chokehold for 15 seconds, as Garner can be heard repeatedly uttering, "I can't breathe". The confrontation is caught on amateur video, including Garner's words "I can't breathe", which become a rallying cry among protesters. Federal authorities, however, kept a civil rights investigation open for five years before announcing last month they wouldn't bring charges. Almost a year after Garner's death, New York City settled a civil lawsuit brought by his family for $5.9 million. Pantaleo has remained employed, earning more than $100,000 a year, since the incident.

In 2015, the city of NY reached a settlement with the family for $5.9m (£4.8m) after they brought a wrongful-death lawsuit claiming that Garner was not given sufficient medical aid by emergency officials.

With O'Neill's verdict, Pantaleo faces his first confirmed punishment as an officer after both a grand jury and federal prosectors declined to bring criminal charges against him.

"If I was still a police officer I would probably not be happy", he said.

May 14, 2019: The NYPD official in charge of training recruits says the restraint technique Pantaleo used on Garner "meets the definition" of a chokehold.

His voice cracking with anger, Mr Lynch called Mr Pantaleo an "exemplary" officer and called for union members to participate in a no-confidence vote on the Mayor and Commissioner.

"We're here with heavy hearts because the DOJ has failed us", she said.

Police Benevolent Association Pat Lynch blasted the decision to fire officer Daniel Pantaleo while standing in front of an Inverted NYPD flag - a national symbol of distress.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said Garner's family was "relieved but not celebratory".

Mr Garner's daughter, Emerald Snipes Garner, thanked Mr O'Neill "for doing the right thing".

"Now it is time for every police officer in this city to make their own choice", he said in a statement.

"Justice has been done", de Blasio said.

Pantaleo defined the action as a move where "you use your forearm, grasped with the other hand, and you pull back with your forearm onto the windpipe, preventing him from breathing".

On Monday, O'Neill said he agreed with the content of her decision in announcing the firing. The whole speech resurfaces the fundamental police lie that somehow "resisting arrest" is a capital offense on the streets of New York City.

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