DOJ Has Until Aug 31, 2018 To Announce If Criminal Charges Will Be Filed In The Death Of Eric Garner

July 17th is the four year anniversary of the death of Eric Garner.   Eric Garner was 43-years old and in Staten Island selling untaxed cigarettes when he was approached by officers Justin Damico and Daniel Pantaleo.  Pantaleo placed Eric in a choke hold and in spite of Eric saying “I can’t breathe, Pantaleo continued applying pressure until Eric was unconscious.

Erica Garner, left. Eric Garner, right.

A bystander recorded the confrontation on cell phone, giving viewers an unobstructed view of the choke hold which, along with the compression of his chest by officers, was found to be a cause of Eric’s death.

In December 2014, a grand jury refused to indict Pantaleo.  Like Darren Wilson who killed Mike Brown, Pantaleo was allowed to testify before the grand jury on his own behalf.

Then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will conduct its own investigation into Eric’s death.   Then United States Attorney Loretta Lynch took over the investigation until she became the United States Attorney General, replacing Eric Holder. Local FBI investigators and federal prosecutors determined that charges should not be brought in the case, and Attorney Lynch then removed the local FBI agents and federal prosecutors from the case, and assigned the investigation to agents outside of New York.

Daniel Pantaleo

According to Pantaleo’s attorney Stuart London, Pantaleo was placed on modified desk duty and doing crime analysis statistics since Garner’s death.

On July 13, 2015, an out-of-court settlement of $5.9 million was announced between the City of New York and Eric’s family.

In January 2016, Sargent Kizzy Adonis was stripped of her gun and badge in connection with Eric’s death.  Adonis was a supervising officer on the scene when police approached Eric. She was charged with a police department internal charge of failure to supervise.   In May 2018,  the New York Post reported that Adonis was returned to active duty.

In February 2016, two EMT’s, Stephanie Greenberg and Nicole Palmeri, returned to full duty after being suspended for their actions or lack thereof in the July 2014 death of Eric Garner.  Two paramedics were also suspended without pay and placed on operational restriction. Weeks later, they were cleared to return to responding to 911 calls.

In 2017 ThinkProgress obtained and published Pantaleo’s police department disciplinary records, showing that Pantaleo had “seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations lodged against him. Four of those allegations were substantiated by an independent review board.

On December 30, 2017, Eric’s oldest daughter, 27-year old Erica Garner, died after being in a coma for several days.  Erica  became an activist for police reform after her father’s words of “I can’t breathe” were used as a rallying cry in the movement against police use of excessive force.

Although there have been no criminal charges filed in the case, on July 16, 2018, the New York City Police Department said it would move forward with internal disciplinary hearings for Pantaleo if the Justice Department does not announce federal civil rights charges by August 31.  In a letter written by Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs Larry Byrne, he stated;

“The NYPD has come to the conclusion that given the extraordinary passage of time since the incident without a final decision on the U.S. DOJ’s criminal investigation, any further delay in moving ahead with our own disciplinary proceedings can no longer be justified.”

A spokesman with the Department of Justice told ABC News that the New York Police Department can move forward with its disciplinary proceedings because it has nothing to do with the Justice Department’s decision-making.

It is not clear if the purpose for the internal investigation is with intent to remove Pantaleo from the force, or only from his desk duty.

The NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, a police oversight agency, recommended charges a year ago in the Garner case.  ABC News reports that a source familiar with the matter informed them that prosecutors in Brooklyn have recommended that Pantaleo face federal charges, but senior officials in Washington remain skeptical the charges could stick.

 

Posted on 07/17/2018, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Four years already? How depressing. It also sickens me that the only person who got arrested was the guy who filmed the death of Eric Garner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep. Four years. I looked up Ramsey Orta who recorded the incident and the most recent news I could find is from Oct. 2016 when he was sentenced to 3 years on a drug and gun charge. Ramsey, as well as some other citizen journalists who film police, complain of being harassed and arrested. No matter if they committed crime(s) or not, it doesn’t change what they filmed. The film speaks for itself, but there is a segment of society that prefers to attack the messengers. Prosecutors need to make sure that juries understand that.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yeah, that was so bogus with the charges on Ramsey Orta. So you can be in trouble with recording cops, drugs, and guns (allegedly), but someone can kill an unarmed individual and walk away scot-free. Priorities, anyone?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ospreyshire,
          It was a matter of impugning Orta in effort to impugn the recording of Eric’s death. The video speaks for itself, but prosecutors seem unable to convey that to grand and/or trial juries. Remember in Michael Slager’s trial that the defense tried to attack the man who filmed Slager shooting Walter Scott in the back. It ended up a mistrial, and subsequently Slager plead guilty to federal charges and avoided re-trial.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Of course. I certainly see that. The fact you have people saying that the footage “doesn’t tell the whole story” despite the insurmountable evidence just baffles me. Yeah, I remember that about Slager and I hate to sound like a certain Batman villain, but his punishment should’ve been more severe.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Ospreyshire,
              Yes — that line about not telling the whole story doesn’t work with the situation with Eric Garner because the entire story is there. Take down by cops should not include applying a choke hold. That it’s illegal in New York should have been sufficient reason to indict the cop.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Exactly. This situation was like what happened to Radio Raheem in Do the Right Thing, but in real life.

              Like

            • Ospreyshire,
              You know, I had forgotten about that.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Yup. That scene is so much harsher in hindsight. Think about it, an unarmed Black man gets murdered by cops in NYC via an illegal chokehold and they get away scot-free. I know police brutality existed back then, but I do find it puzzling how now once called that scene an example of so-called “predictive programming” like other movies or shows.

              Like

            • Ospreyshire,
              As the question goes, does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? The choke hold is another method of lynching and that was happening in the U.S. long before man invented moving pictures.

              Liked by 1 person

            • That’s a good question. I’ve wondered the same thing. I’m certainly aware of this method of lynching existing even before Do The Right Thing Came out. That was just an example of it being brought to light in a movie.

              Like

            • Ospreyshire,
              Absolutely! Did you see the movie Rebel Without A Cause? There are many things that can be gleaned from that movie on how and why the police treated the two teens differently.

              Liked by 1 person

            • It feels a bit sacrilegious for someone with a film background like me, but I haven’t seen the entire movie. Looks like I have no excuse but to watch that film now.

              Like

            • Ospreyshire,
              If you get a chance, please do watch it. I first saw it in the 50’s and saw that it was about teens. When I watched it a second time when older, I saw it differently to include parents. When I watched it years later, the way that the police favored one character more than the other entered into the bigger picture.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I’ll keep that in mind. It’s good how you able to pick up more nuances after multiple watches. I’ve had those moments when it came to watching movies or even anime growing up. Sometimes there are good things I didn’t realize at first, but there are other times where I realize how problematic it was.

              Like

            • Ospreyshire,
              Thanks so much for sharing about movies. It’s refreshing.

              Liked by 1 person

            • No problem, Xena. I do have a bit of a film background and I enjoyed reviewing obscure and foreign movies on Iridium Eye even though I’m on hiatus from that page. I’m happy to have these discussions, too.

              Like

  2. Justice was denied to Erica.

    Like

    • Yes, Mindyme. She was so young to have such a serious health condition, and it was no doubt aggravated by the fact that she advocated for justice for her dad and others when it appears that it will be denied.

      Like

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