New York, NY – After over 5 years of investigation, Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City police officer, has finally been fired for using an illegal chokehold that led to the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man accused of selling untaxed cigarettes.
Police commissioner James O’Neill announced on Monday that he has fired Pantaleo based on a recent recommendation from a department disciplinary judge. Pantaleo had been on desk duty with pay since Garner’s death, but has now been terminated from his position following the administrative trial which ended in June. Pantaleo will also no longer qualify to receive pension.
Many officers were on the scene but Pantaleo was the officer who was caught on video putting Garner in a headlock while he wrestled him to the ground in a violent arrest in 2014. Garner died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
During the arrest, Garner pleaded repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.” It became a rallying cry for national protests over race and the police excessive use of force.
Autopsy results confirmed that Garner died of heart attack and noted that the chokehold was a factor on his death. A medical examiner also ruled Garner’s death a homicide, but a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo in 2014.
In addition, the Department of Justice announced back in July that it would not file any charges against Pantaleo.