New York City – The New York Police Department (NYPD) announced that Monday that the police officer accused of choking to death Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, will face a disciplinary hearing. White NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo could face dismissal nearly four years after Garner’s death, the Associated Press reported.
The NYPD, acting one day before the fourth anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death on Staten Island, said it would no longer hold off on disciplinary proceedings if the Justice Department had not announced by Aug. 31 whether it will file criminal charges. The lawyer for the NYPD criticized the Department of Justice (DOJ) for dragging its feet on whether it will bring about a federal criminal case.
“Understandably, members of the public in general and the Garner family in particular have grown impatient with the fact that N.Y.P.D. has not proceeded with our disciplinary proceedings and they have difficulty comprehending a decision to defer to a federal criminal investigation that seems to have no end in sight,” Lawrence Byrne, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, said in a letter to the Justice Department on Monday.
Mr. Byrne added that “given the extraordinary passage of time since the incident without a final decision” on the federal investigation, “any further delay in moving ahead with our own disciplinary proceedings can no longer be justified.”
Black Westchester was told by police officials that police departments often hold off on taking disciplinary action until federal prosecutors finish inquiries into possible civil rights violations, the AP noted. Byrne added that the NYPD could not longer justify putting off disciplinary proceedings.
Pantaleo has reportedly been on desk duty since the fatal incident, four-years ago on July 17, 2014
The disciplinary proceedings would involve Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on 26-year-old Ramsey Orta’s video holding Mr. Garner’s neck as he begged for breath, as well as a sergeant, Kizzy Adonis, who was one of the first supervisors at the scene. Sergeant Adonis has already been administratively charged with failing to properly oversee her officers, according to a senior police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. The disciplinary proceedings against her, however, have paused, pending the federal investigation.
A Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo on criminal charges. Orta, who filmed the final moments of Eric Garner’s life to date is the only one who ended up behind bars.
Each anniversary of Mr. Garner’s death the family has the deal with the continued quest for justice, bringing anguish to his family. Critics have challenged the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to explain how, after so long, Ofiicer Pantaleo, seen on video using a chokehold – which is against NYPD’s policy but obviously is not against the penal law – to Eric Garner, who was 43, still had not faced discipline.
With its letter on Monday, the department appeared interested in getting ahead of the inevitable questions police officials and Mr. de Blasio have faced each summer, the NY Times reported.
“No one is dragging their feet,” Mr. de Blasio said on the two-year anniversary, July 17, 2016, in response to a question about the process, which, even then, seemed unnecessarily delayed. “Everything is being done meticulously because we want to make sure that what happens is fair to everyone involved.”
The mayor said then, as he has said frequently since, that the Police Department would move forward with its internal disciplinary process after the federal investigation had been completed. Now, the de Blasio administration, in its letter, said it would no longer wait.
Six days after the launch of BlackWestchester.com, the death Eric Garner was one of our first big stories of police criminality in our coverage of Black Males being shot, shot at or killed by the police, nationwide. Since then dozens of incidents that led to the death of Black Males at the hands of the police, ended the same way, with grand juries failing to indict the officers with no better results from the federal government.
Garner’s family was notified of the letter before it was released to the media. The 43-year-old Staten Island man’s widow, Esaw Snipes, who with her family has moved out of the city, said she has tired of expecting anything from the feds. She also said nothing will ever replace her husband, who protested 11 times that he couldn’t breathe during a takedown on allegations he was selling loose cigarettes, or her daughter, Erica Garner, 27, who became an activist after her father’s death and herself died of a heart attack in December.
“I will never get over the loss of my husband and the loss of my daughter,” she said. “We miss them every day, but I cannot spend my life doing all this.”
Erica Garner — an often outspoken activist for social justice and the eldest daughter of the Eric Garner died on Saturday, December 30, 2017 after suffering a heart attack, without ever seeing the killers of her father brought to justice.
Beside Orta who shot the cellphone video, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, 41, who has been accused of failure to supervise, is the only other person who has been charged with anything surrounding Eric Garner’s death. She arrived on the scene after Garner had been taken to the ground. Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said Adonis, whose case will be prosecuted by NYPD lawyers, did nothing wrong and was charged only because the NYPD needed a scapegoat.
Former NYPD Inspector and author of Once A Cop, Corey Pegues said on the People Before Politics Radio Show shortly after, Garner’s death that Adonis should be charged as the supervising officer on the scene who failed to instruct the officers to stop before they killed Garner. But after she was charged, Pegues shared with Black Westchester, she should not be the only one charged.
After hearing the news that Kizzy Adoni, the NYPD African-American sergeant, who one of the supervising officers at the scene, supervising the police action that led to her dad, Eric Garner’s death, faced departmental charges, Erica Garner recorded an official statement on her YouTube Channel to express how she felt.
“A year and a half later, the only people indicted in my dad’s case are people of color. A year and a half later, that New York has to offer the Garner family. Not one of the eight killer cops, that was on my dad’s back, was charged for anything,” Erica shares in frustration.
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, held a press conference with Al Sharpton addressing the announcement Monday afternoon.
“I’m always going to have faith, because the whole world saw what happened to my son,” Carr reportedly said during a press conference alongside the Rev. Al Sharpton at National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. Carr repeated her years-old demand to have Officer Daniel Pantaleo, her son’s killer, kicked off the force.
The Obama Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation that has been held up by the Donald Trump’s DOJ, headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Newone reported. Sessions, who has been unabashedly pro law enforcement in civil rights matters, asked city officials to delay an administrative trial that could, at least, result in Pantaleo getting fired from the department.
Meanwhile, Pantaleo has been collecting a salary and raises. He reportedly earned over $20,000 in overtime pay while on desk duty in the two years following the killing. Pantaleo’s salary rose to $119,996 in fiscal year 2016.