A New York administrative judge recommended Friday that the New York City police officer who placed unarmed Black man Eric Garner in a chokehold and caused his death be fired from the department.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was recorded on a cellphone video choking Garner during an attempted arrest in July 2014, was immediately suspended after the judge’s ruling.
His fate now rests in the hands of the city’s police commissioner, who must determine if the department will terminate the officer.
That decision will be made later this month, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Until today, the Garner family has been failed through this entire process,” de Blasio said at a news conference Friday. “As they waited and waited, it reinforced their position that justice doesn’t exist for people who look like Eric Garner. Today, they finally received some justice and accountability.
“I hope this will bring the Garner family some closure,” said de Blasio, who is also running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. “Full justice means there can never be another incident like this. Full justice means we can never have another death [like this].”
Garner, 43, who was approached by police for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a Staten Island street, was wrestled to the ground by Pantaleo. He repeatedly told the officers, “I can’t breathe” during the altercation.
The use of the chokehold was banned by the New York City Police Department in 1993.
The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, though a grand jury decided in December 2014 not to indict Pantaleo.
“This has been a long battle,” Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner Snipes, said at a news conference attended by the Rev. Al Sharpton. “Five years too long. And finally, someone has said this cop has done something wrong.”