|New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill|
From The New York Times:
The New York City police officer whose chokehold was partly blamed for Eric Garner’s death in police custody in 2014 was fired from the Police Department on Monday, ending a bitter, five-year legal battle that had cast a shadow over the nation’s largest police force and the city it protects.
The police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, dismissed the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, just over two weeks after a police administrative judge found him guilty of violating a department ban on chokeholds.
“The unintended consequence of Mr. Garner’s death must have a consequence of its own,” Mr. O’Neill said. “Therefore I agree with the deputy commissioner of trial’s legal findings and recommendations. It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.”
The leader of the city’s largest police union immediately denounced the decision, saying Mr. O’Neill had bowed to “anti-police extremists” and that Mr. Pantaleo’s dismissal sent a message that the city did not stand behind its officers when they make arrests.
NYPD officer involved in Eric Garner's death fired, NYPD commissioner announces: https://t.co/p5TX3vVZ3M pic.twitter.com/r6NMl9ny0Y
Garner died on July 17, 2014, after Officer Pantaleo tackled him from behind, then, along with other officers, jumped on top of Garner.
Video footage of the arrest showing Garner struggling for breath and repeatedly saying — “I can’t breathe” — quickly went viral and galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.
Garner was being arrested on charges of selling untaxed, individual cigarettes on a street corner. For that crime, he was choked to death.
After watching the video himself, O'Neill said he came to two conclusions: Garner should not have resisted arrest; and that while Pantaleo began the interaction appropriately, the officer escalated to a prohibited chokehold.
I have this to say: at the time of his death, there were four - FOUR - police officers holding Garner down.
Nine times Garner, who was unarmed, said, "I can't breathe."
With three other police officers with him, couldn't Pantaleo have loosened his (prohibited) chokehold just a bit?