After the Justice Department recently declined to pursue federal charges against a New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in response to the 2014 death of Eric Garner, members of the City Council, the Black, Latino, Asian and Progressive Caucuses and Public Advocate Williams gathered with advocates at 1 Police Plaza to demand that NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill terminate Officer Pantaleo immediately. On Thursday, July 18, 2019, the Caucuses sent a joint letter to Commissioner O’Neill, demanding the immediate firing of Officer Pantaleo.
In addition, the Black Latino Asian and Progressive Caucuses stand in solidarity with Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, in demanding that all officers involved in Garner’s death face disciplinary charges and in calling for greater transparency from the NYPD and the Mayor. The Mayor and the NYPD must release the names of all officers who were responsible for Garner’s death, and these officers must be held accountable for their actions through disciplinary charges. Four years has already been far too long, and Garner’s family and the public deserve accountability, transparency and justice.
“Daniel Pantaleo and the other officers involved in Eric Garner’s horrific death should be fired. I am outraged that our system has failed his family time and time again,” said Speaker Corey Johnson, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “Last week, we learned that the Department of Justice decided not to file charges against officer Pantaleo. This was another slap in the face to Gwen Carr and her family. They have been denied justice for the past five long years. Simply put, those responsible must be held accountable for Eric’s death.”
“The world watched as Eric Garner was killed while in the hands of the NYPD and there is no doubt in my mind that he would be alive today if a chokehold was not placed around his neck on that tragic day in 2014,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Member of Black, Latino, and Asian and Progressive Caucuses. “The world is watching once again, waiting for Commissioner O’Neill to send a message to New Yorkers as well as every NYPD officer about how the NYPD will hold their officers accountable in 2019 and beyond. Officer Pantaleo must be fired for his actions and the Commissioner has the full authority to remove him immediately. For the integrity of the NYPD, for Gwen Carr and Eric’s entire family and for every parent who lost their child to police brutality, we must put this dark period in the past by doing what is right.”
“Eric Garner’s family has been failed by our justice system too many times. It is up to Mayor de Blasco to fire Officer Pantaleo and provide the Garner family with the justice they deserve,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Member of the Black, Latino, Asian Caucus. “I stand with my colleagues in demanding his employment be terminated immediately.”
“Five years ago, Eric Garner became synonymous with names like Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, and Ramarley Graham – and is among the many of New Yorkers of color that were killed during a police encounter,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus Co-Chair, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “The fact his killer – Daniel Pantaleo – isn’t behind bars but continues to earn a six-figure salary shows there is still no consequence for police officers that kill members of our community. Nothing is preventing Mayor de Blasio from firing Pantaleo, and every day he remains on the job is an affront that only perpetuates the death of more Black and Brown New Yorkers. If the NYPD truly values the credibility it has gained in recent years through community policing, it can’t be complicit in behavior that causes such needless killings. Justice demands nothing less than the immediate termination of Daniel Pantaleo.”
“I’ve been fighting alongside Eric Garner’s family and dedicated advocates for five years since he was killed by Daniel Pantaleo,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “After all of that time we are still pursuing justice. That won’t stop now. I’m looking to the NYPD commissioner and the mayor, who seemingly agree that a tragic injustice occurred—but have yet to do anything to seek justice now. I hope they will do the right thing and fire Pantaleo, but frankly, I’m not sure we should hold our breath.”
“Eric Garner did not have to die as a result of his interaction with the NYPD five years ago. Officer Pantaleo did not act appropriately and the consequences were fatal,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “The time is now for officer Pantaleo to face repercussions for his fateful actions and be immediately terminated by the NYPD.”
“Pantaleo’s actions caused the death of Eric Garner, who posed no immediate danger to either him or the other officers present. Officers are constantly trained to use their discretion when making an arrest,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “I am recommending that the Police Commissioner have Officer Pantaleo immediately step down from his duties as a New York City Police Officer for the killing of an unarmed civilian” Ydanis Rodriguez
“Five years ago, Officer Pantaleo used an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner, which killed him. This is a fact according NYPD and the US Department of Justice. Now NYPD must do what it should have done then: fire Officer Pantaleo and bring justice to a family shattered by a wrongful tragedy. We must restore trust in our communities, whose worst fears of the justice system have been manifested,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Member of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
“Justice has been delayed for five years as Eric Garner’s family and New Yorkers await a necessary resolution to this case,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “It sends the wrong signal to New Yorkers — who have long stood by the officers that serve our communities every day — that there has been a delay in bringing meaningful closure to those affected by this tragic death. It is no surprise that New Yorkers are outraged.”
“Firing Daniel Pantaleo will do little to make up for five years of failure to the Garner family, who have been let down every step of the way by a justice system that is supposed to hold all accountable, even those with a police badge. But showing Pantaleo the door will finally prove to the public that the NYPD will not tolerate nor employ an individual who commits violence against those they are sworn to protect, said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Member of the Black, Latino and Asian and Progressive Caucuses. “I stand with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus and Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus in saying that we need #JusticeForEricGarner.”
“For over five years now, the Garner family has endured the grief of loss and the agonizing uncertainty of whether justice will ever be delivered for the killing of Eric Garner,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Member of the Black, Latino and Asian and Progressive Caucuses. “Up until now, those responsible for the death of Eric Garner have skirted accountability and disciplinary action. It is especially outrageous that Officer Daniel Pantaleo has continued to collect a six figure salary after undeniably killing Mr. Garner with an illegal chokehold. Police Commissioner O’Neill should fire officer Pantaleo immediately, and Mayor de Blasio needs to demonstrate leadership by pressuring him to do so.”
“Despite his clear role in the wrongful death of Eric Garner five years ago, Officer Pantaleo still enjoys a salary and has evaded any type of disciplinary action. This is incomprehensible. We can no longer reward Officer Pantaleo’s actions, and endanger our constituents, in this fashion. We will not stop fighting until we have obtained real justice for Eric and his family,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Member of the Progressive Caucus, Chair of the Committee on Women & Gender Equity.
“Eric Garner’s family waited years for justice only to see it denied on the eve of the 5th anniversary of his death,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Member of the Black, Latino and Asian and Progressive Caucuses. “Their pain—shared by so many others in New York City and across the country—was compounded by the Justice Department’s failure to pursue charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo. If New York is to lead the nation on criminal justice reform, Officer Pantaleo must be held accountable for his actions.”