In the summer of 2014, Eric Garner’s name spread across America after video of his death at the hands of a NYPD cop went viral. “I can’t breathe,” Garner said, as he was being strangled in a chokehold. An hour later, he was pronounced dead, and his death reverberated, prompting cries for greater police accountability—cries that only grew in volume as more deaths like Garner’s were caught on film.
The officer who strangled Garner, Daniel Pantaleo, was not initially indicted by a Richmond County grand jury, and was instead placed on desk duty. The city paid the Garner family millions in an out-of-court settlement, but the U.S. Department of Justice declined to press charges against Pantaleo. Finally, this summer, a disciplinary hearing was held by the NYPD, and on Monday it was announced that after five years, Pantaleo would be fired. Here’s The Daily Beast:
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced on Monday that NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo has been fired. O’Neill terminated Pantaleo, 34, after it was determined he violated department policy by restraining Garner with a prohibited chokehold in 2014.
“It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer serve as a police officer,” O’Neill said.
An administrative judge previously recommended Pantaleo’s termination following an internal disciplinary trial. The judge, a deputy commissioner, found Pantaleo was “untruthful” during interviews with investigators and had “recklessly used force” during the fatal encounter.
The chokehold Pantaleo used had been banned for years by the NYPD, and that led to Garner suffering the heart attack that killed him. The judge in the hearing that ended with Pantaleo’s termination found his defense “implausible and self-serving,” and that his chokehold “escalated from a Patrol Guide violation to criminal recklessness.” That opinion can be read in its entirety here.