Garner’s family and fired NYPD officer says the fight continues

Lericia Harris
August 20, 2019 - 2:32 pm
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, joins others during a news conference outside of Police Headquarters in Manhattan to protest during the police disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo

Photo by: Spencer Platt/Getty Images


The family of Eric Garner says the fight for justice will continue as the New York police officer fired for placing Garner in a chokehold plans to appeal the decision.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announced Monday that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, would be dismissed from the New York City Police Department.

New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill speaks during a press conference to announce the termination of officer Daniel Pantaleo on August 19, 2019 in New York City. Officer Pantaleo has been fired from the NYPD
Photo by: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Garner, who is black, died after being placed in a banned chokehold by Pantaleo outside a Staten Island convenience store. Garner’s dying gasps of "I can't breathe" gave voice to a national debate over race and police use of force.

The Associated Press reports O'Neill stated he thought Pantaleo's use of the banned chokehold as he wrestled with Garner was a mistake that could have been made by any officer in the heat of an arrest. However, it was clear Pantaleo had broken department rules and "can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer."

"None of us can take back our decisions," stated O'Neill, "especially when they lead to the death of another human being."

The decision received praised from activists and Garner’s family. However, the head of the police union condemned the firing of Pantaleo. The Associated Press states Patrolman's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch declared that Pantaleo’s dismissal would undermine morale and cause officers to hesitate to use force for fear they could be fired, that according to the Associated Press.

Pat Lynch, president of the NYC Police Benevolent Association, pauses while speaking during a press conference after the announcement of the termination of officer Daniel Pantaleo at PBA headquarters on August 19, 2019 in New York City
Photo by: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"It's absolutely essential that the world know that the New York City Police Department is rudderless and frozen," stated Lynch. "The leadership has abandoned ship and left our police officers on the street alone, without backing."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the police union's call for a vote of no confidence against him and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill calling what the PBA is doing reprehensible.

Pantaleo's lawyer, Stuart London, plans to use legal appeals to work to get the officer reinstated.