Eric Garner’s Killer to Be Charged

By Free Radical

The family of Eric Garner including his mother Gwen Carr, pictured above, still seek justice for his death by police.

The family of Eric Garner including his mother Gwen Carr, pictured above, still seek justice.

Justice, or at least some semblance of it, may soon come to Eric Garner and his family. On Thursday, the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board announced that it would begin proceedings to prosecute Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the man who choked Garner to death. Pantaleo was formally charged on Friday, according to the New York Daily News. Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, who was one of the first supervisors on the scene, will also be charged for failure to properly oversee her subordinate officers. The proceedings will not result in criminal charges but will be an internal probe that could result in a suspension or dismissal of both officers.

The announcement comes nearly four years after Garner was killed in Staten Island on July 17, 2014. Garner was harassed by NYPD and eventually subdued by multiple officers including Pantaleo who used a chokehold that had been barred by the NYPD for several years. The postmortem autopsy ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by the neck and check compressions from Pantaleo’s unlawful maneuver.

Since 2014, Garner’s family has waited long and hard for accountability. Despite clear video evidence, no officer has been criminally charged for the death. Federal civil rights charges have long been considered and the NYPD generally waits to begin their own proceedings until state or federal investigations have run their course.

On Monday, Lawrence Byrne, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, informed the Justice Department that the city would begin its own proceedings if the federal government did not make a decision by August 31.

On Wednesday, the Justice Department communicated that they would have no objection to the NYPD commencing its own investigation immediately. In its response, the federal government intimated that they had already given the NYPD the go ahead earlier this year.

The legal fumbling of New York and Washington has only added insult to injury for the Garner family. Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother has expressed the commonly held belief that “The idea the N.Y.P.D. couldn’t have acted before D.O.J. has always been a lie.”

Yet the family remains resolute in their quest for justice. Ellisha Garner, Eric’s sister noted, “I’ll be a little satisfied when someone is actually held accountable. It won’t bring him back but at least we know we didn’t let it go.”

The proceedings are likely to begin early next year. Until then, as has been the case since Garner’s 2014 death, Pantaleo and Adonis will continue to get paid from taxpayer money.

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