Aug 19, 2019

NYPD fires officer involved in 2014 choking death of Eric Garner

Eric Garner protest

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was faced with disciplinary charges over the death of Eric Garner 5 years ago, has been fired, Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced Monday.

Why it matters: Pantaleo was the white NYPD officer accused of using an illegal chokehold while attempting to arrest Garner, whose subsequent death and final words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. The Justice Department's announcement in July that it was ending its investigation into Pantaleo without issuing federal charges prompted public outcry.

"It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a police officer," O'Neill said in a news conference Monday.

  • On Aug. 2, the NYPD suspended Pantaleo almost immediately after an administrative judge recommended that the New York Police Department fire him.
  • The DOJ's closing of the case in July meant Pantaleo would not be prosecuted, which resulted in even stronger public calls for his firing.

Context: Pantaleo, 34, had been collecting his paycheck and pension benefits while serving on desk duty without a gun, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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