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No Federal Charges For NYPD Officer In Eric Garner’s Death

The Justice Department will not bring federal charges against a New York Police Department officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner, the New York man whose last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry in the Black Lives Matter movement, three sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

Federal authorities had a deadline of Wednesday to decide whether to bring charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who appeared, in a cell phone video, to have Garner in a chokehold shortly before he died. Pantaleo denies that he used a chokehold.

US attorneys with the Eastern District of New York have called a news conference Tuesday regarding the Garner case.

Federal investigators have been examining the circumstances of Garner’s death since 2014, after a grand jury in New York declined to indict the Staten Island officer.

Meanwhile, the NYPD had brought departmental charges against Pantaleo. If found guilty of using the chokehold and restricting Garner’s breathing, he could face discipline ranging from loss of vacation days to the loss of his job.

And while Pantaleo’s career, and possibly freedom, hang in the balance, a mother’s grief remains, with each emotional scab reopened at every departmental hearing, anniversary and rally.

“Some days are my good days. Some days are my dark days,” said Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner who became an activist soon after her son’s death and has remained a fixture at police reform rallies. “Some days I can hardly move around because I’m in deep thought.”

Carr spent Monday afternoon looking through photos from Garner on his wedding day. It’s how she likes to remember him.

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“Sometimes it’s unbearable,” Carr said. “I feel like it’s my duty and my obligation. I do this for my son.”

Garner died on July 17, 2014, after police attempted to arrest the 43-year-old father of six, who was allegedly selling loose cigarettes illegally on Staten Island, a crime he had been arrested for previously.

Garner’s friend, Ramsey Orta, recorded the confrontation on his cell phone as it quickly escalated.

In the video, Pantaleo can be seen wrapping one arm around Garner’s shoulder and the other around his neck before jerking him back and pulling him to the ground.

As Pantaleo forces Garner’s head into the sidewalk, Garner can be heard saying “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

The phrase became the rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement. Marchers yelled the phrase as they took to the streets in New York in protest of Garner’s death.

Five years later, whether or not Pantaleo applied a chokehold remains the crux of the case. Activists and lawyers for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the city agency charged with overseeing the NYPD, call it an illegal chokehold, which is banned by the department. But union officials and lawyers for Daniel Pantaleo call it a “seatbelt hold” a take down maneuver that is taught to rookies while at the academy.

They blame Garner’s death on his poor health. “Mr. Garner died from being morbidly obese” and having other health issues, Pantaleo’s attorney, Stuart London, said earlier this year. “He was a ticking time bomb and set these facts in motion by resisting arrest.”

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London says his client is different from other officers he’s represented in his almost 22 years defending cops. The other officers were aggressive, young police officers, he said.

“(Pantaleo) has been characterized as an overly aggressive officer with a history of this sort of behavior, and nothing can be further from the truth,” London said. “This was a regular patrolman doing regular police work.”

London says key facts of the case have been lost in the politics: that Pantaleo was ordered to arrest Eric Garner, for example. London also claims that the physical injuries that Garner sustained do not show evidence of a chokehold — though the CCRB says they do.

London has defended Pantaleo during his disciplinary proceeding, which has been prosecuted by the CCRB. Rosemarie Maldonado, the department’s deputy commissioner for trials, oversaw the proceeding.

It included testimony from the city medical examiner, who ruled the death a homicide; Pantaleo’s former instructor at the police academy, who said he did not teach the officer the seatbelt maneuver; and a medical examiner from St. Louis, who reviewed the autopsy and said the alleged chokehold was part of a chain of events that killed the father of six.

Now that the hearing is over, if Pantaleo is found guilty of using a banned chokehold, Maldonado can recommend he be terminated. Commissioner James O’Neill, who has final say in the matter, then would determine whether Pantaleo could keep his job.

Meanwhile, Garner’s mother said that the loss of Pantaleo’s job wouldn’t fix anything, but it would at least be something. Carr did not want to acknowledge the possibility that the time limit to federally charge Pantaleo with a crime could expire without any charges.

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“It doesn’t do a lot. It’s just that we must have some type of accountability. Some type of responsibility. Where the police officers are held accountable and pay for their misconduct,” she said. “If we just sit aside on the sidelines and let it go, it’s going to keep on happening.”

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2 comments

Anthony McElroy August 25, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Anthony McElroy
43 mins ·

THE GOD OF TERRORIST
Yes he is here and not alone and called The God of Terrorist,
The skin he is in is all colors with death and is very dangerous.
His bombs explores that are real and destructive to be serious,
The graveyards are holes with blood to be filled like a dentist.
Their God is the reptilian with the sting of the poison serpent,
And this mankind prays to the Devil and he is convince.
Therefore his mission is to destroy those divinely sent,
He teaches so call peace with no love as in common sense.
She is in disguises of love to be nice and sexy in human form,
Therefore she is a woman to be righteous but not to reform.
She is many as in colors of hate yet to bomb desert storm,
Many of her clan has died or they are lame as in deformed.
She preaches to teach from the house of wicked as in black.
Her tongue is a fork to stabs the body to kill to be a fact,
The mind of a terrorist is in any gender to burn as a match,
She hangs her corpses as medals as death is on the rack.
I have seen him as visitor to speak of love in Dwight’s Houses,
The lights were turn off by him in the real Light House.
The rank and file he holds is first class in the big House,
He is the male demon to semen as Hitler in that gas House.
One night they both as him to her will bow on their Knees,
They will seek their god of death but find everlasting Disease.
Their god is in hell and they will blaze to burn not Freeze,
They are the corpse that were on T.V. now they can’t Breathe.
Truth he and she are the goddess and god of wicked Terrorist,
Their blood is full of venom as a snake to kill with wickedness.
So call peace to love but their style proves that are Dangerous,
Murder is business and they are God and Goddess of Terrorist.
Holmes Lewis Newman McElroy Inc.
Copyright and Updated in 2019
By Elroy from the family of Elroy

Reply
Anthony McElroy August 25, 2019 at 5:23 pm

This country is base on lies and being a big hypocrite They were enslave by England and for 200 PLUS YEARS has done the same thing to people of all colors Thus we know ‘ NEW NAMES FOR OLD THING DON’T CHANGE THEM ” Therefore TRUTH IS TRUTH

Reply

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