Four years after Eric Garner’s death, killer cop faces NYPD disciplinary hearing
12 December 2018
Last week, more than four years after New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo killed unarmed Eric Garner on the streets of Staten Island with an illegal chokehold, Pantaleo faced the first hearing in a New York City Police Department (NYPD) disciplinary trial set to begin in May. Pantaleo’s supervisor, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, will also face a departmental trial.
If convicted, Pantaleo, who was placed on desk duty and had his salary increased to $120,000 after the 2014 incident, could face penalties ranging from the loss of vacation days to the loss of his job. NYPD union officials, however, who say a chokehold never occurred, are holding out the possibility of no conviction taking place, which might put Pantaleo back on the streets of New York in uniform.
Garner, 43, was approached by police trying to apprehend him for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally. After Garner denied that he was selling anything, Pantaleo put him in a chokehold from behind, as three other NYPD officers piled on top of him and held his head down while Garner gasped, “I can’t breathe,” eleven times before going unconscious. Chokeholds, defined as “pressure to the throat or windpipe, which may prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air,” were banned from NYPD use in 1993.
This explicit scene of police brutality and subsequent murder was caught on film in its entirety by Garner’s friend, sparking mass outrage by the millions who viewed it. Garner’s case, along with other high-profile police killings in 2014 such as that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, led to large-scale demonstrations by workers and students in New York City and across the US.