NEW YORK — A New York Police Department administrative judge Aug. 3 recommended that cop Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Eric Garner in a chokehold on Staten Island five years ago, should be fired. Police Commissioner James O’Neill will rule on the recommendation.
“Finally, somebody has said there’s some information that this cop has done something wrong,” responded Emerald Snipes-Garner, Eric Garner’s daughter, at a press conference following the decision. “Commissioner O’Neill, fire Pantaleo!” she said.
The decision comes after the Justice Department announced July 16 it would not bring civil rights charges against Pantaleo, despite the fact that the medical examiner classified Garner’s death as a “homicide,” and the autopsy report said that he died “during physical restraint by police.” Thousands protested a Staten Island grand jury’s refusal to indict the cop in 2014.
“What did he do to die? The cops say, ‘no intent,’ but when it was obvious he couldn’t breathe what did they do to help him? Take the cuffs off? Give him water and air? Call EMS?” Esaw Snipes-Garner, Garner’s wife, told the Militant at a five-year memorial meeting that drew some 200 people to the Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem July 30.
“People may not know the name ‘Eric Garner,’ but when they hear ‘I can’t breathe,’ they know it means police brutality,” she added. Garner had yelled out those words 11 times before dying, and they have become a rallying cry for protests across the country. Since then Garner family members have been speaking out and organizing protests demanding Pantaleo’s prosecution.
Speakers at the meeting included Garner’s sons, Eric Garner Jr. and Emery Garner; Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X; and Korey Wise, one of the Central Park Five — Black and Latino teenagers framed up for the 1989 rape of a Caucasian woman in Central Park and imprisoned for up to 13 years.
“No one should forget the crimes of the police,” Shabazz told the audience.
“Come out and keep on organizing,” Kerry Ellington from People Against Police Brutality in New Haven, Connecticut, told the meeting. Ellington’s organization is demanding the prosecution of the cop who killed 15-year-old Jayson Negron in Bridgeport in May 2018.