(TELESUR) – The white New York Police Department officer who used a deadly chokehold on Eric Garner while trying to arrest him in 2014, giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, was fired Monday, Commissioner James O’Neill said.
“It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York police officer,” he said.
The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, was suspended earlier this month after a departmental judge ruled that the officer should be fired. He had previously been on desk duty since he was seen in widely viewed cellphone videos using a banned chokehold on Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk during an attempted arrest.
Garner’s repeated dying cries of “I can’t breathe,” widely viewed on social media, became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement, which protests the institutional racism against Black people across the United States.
His death and the slow-moving investigations that followed have generated some of the harshest criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio during his tenure and have spilled over into his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The case tested the mayor’s relationships with both civil rights activists, who have long complained that the city’s Black and Latinx residents are harassed by police, and the rank-and-file police officers who work for him, some of whom say they have been made scapegoats by his office.
Firing Pantaleo was one of the few punishments left available. A Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo in 2014 on criminal charges, and federal prosecutors said last month they would not bring charges because there was insufficient evidence.
In 2015, New York City paid a US$5.9 million settlement to Garner’s family to avoid a civil lawsuit.
While Pantaleo was dismissed, two other police officers who led a Black man by a rope in Texas this month would not face criminal charges as authorities said Sunday.
Donald Neely, 43, a mentally ill person has often slept on streets. He was arrested on Aug. 3 by the Texas Rangers for allegedly trespassing. The mounted rangers tied him to a rope and dragged him as police vehicles were not available.