Less than three weeks after New York’s Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado recommended job termination for Daniel Pataleo, the New York police officer accused of putting Eric Garner, a 43-year-old unarmed Black father of six, in a fatal chokehold during his July 17, 2014 arrest on Staten Island for illegally selling cigarettes. Pantaleo has been fired by the New York Police Department. Garner, who was captured on video of the arrest repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” which became a rallying slogan against police brutality, died the same day.
The Legal Aid Society released the following statement the day the firing was announced, Monday, Aug. 19:
“While this decision finally brings closure for the Garner family, NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo should have been fired in 2014 and immediately stripped of his pension. Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s many attempts to point fingers elsewhere and spread the blame for years of inaction, New Yorkers now know that City Hall had the authority and jurisdiction to act decisively on this matter early on yet still did not.
Instead the Garners and many others have had to relive Mr. Garner’s untimely death almost daily, while his killer enjoyed continued employment and a paycheck. This Administration and future mayors should learn and reflect from the mishandling of this entire tragedy and acknowledge the errors that sowed immense distrust and divisiveness in our city between the public and the NYPD. The Mayor’s legacy will have to bear this stain and all of its costs forever.
Lastly, this ruling should not absolve the City from charging and ultimately firing the other officers who were involved with Mr. Garner’s killing. Those officers’ employment with the NYPD should be terminated without any further delay.”
Stuart London, Pantaleo’s attorney, has said his client will appeal the decision.