Eric Garner

New York Finally Gets Around to Maybe Holding Police Officers Responsible for Eric Garner's Killing

Four years later, they might actually fire somebody.


Garner protest sign
Pacific Press/Sipa USA/Newscom

Four years ago this week, police officers in New York choked Eric Garner to death after he passively refused to cooperate while they arrested him for selling black-market loose cigarettes.

Garner's unnecessary and avoidable death inspired outrage, but so far there have been few consequences for the cops involved. The Department of Justice has been investigating whether the police violated Garner's civil rights. Because of the federal investigation, the city refrained from moving forward with its own disciplinary proceedings against the officers involved.

But yesterday, after the Department of Justice said it didn't object to the city moving on the issue, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, responsible for the deadly chokehold, and Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, his supervisor, will face an administrative trial next year.

NYPD critics and Garner's family are upset that the city waited years to do anything. Whatever the Justice Department decides to do should have no bearing on whether the NYPD continues to employ these officers. If the Justice Department charges them, then it charges them. That has nothing to do with whether they should keep their jobs.

When The New York Post asked New York Mayor Bill de Blasio about this, he claimed that when other cities have quickly fired misbehaving police, the incidents were "exceedingly clear." He added, "I think, each one has to be looked at in its own individuality, because sometimes there's a situation where there's not a lot of doubt."

They've had four years to look at it. And the incident was captured on video. Let me politely suggest that the more likely explanation is that the city was hoping the Department of Justice would make the hard call so the NYPD wouldn't have to come into conflict with New York's powerful police unions.

It's not clear whether the public will learn the outcome of the internal trial. New York State has some the country's worst transparency rules when it comes to police conduct, including laws that conceal the contents of disciplinary records. Pantaleo's history as an officer was being kept secret, but information was leaked last year to ThinkProgress that showed he had a history of bad behavior. New York's Civilian Complaint Review Board has recommended that Pantaleo be fired for Garner's death.

A grand jury previously declined to indict Pantaleo for Garner's death. This administrative trial is all about whether he'll keep his job, not whether he'll go to jail.

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  1. I’m not sure what the state expected when it enacted a black-market-inducing tax.

    Though I haven’t heard of Mafia people being choked to death over their cigarette-running operations.

    1. I’m not sure what the state expected when it enacted a black-market-inducing tax.

      They expected to get more tax revenue, and that the consequences of enforcing it are all valid as law-breakers do not have rights.

      1. There’s no particular value of any single human life in most of the government. The ends justify the means. And that’s what they believe to be an aggregate improvement, even if individuals must be killed and crushed.

        1. “”The ends justify the means.”‘

          It’s apparent when LEOs say, he got what he deserved. Not necessarily this case per se, but any when they want to justify their actions.

        2. Let’s be fair! They HAVE to kill a few miscreants to show the survivors they really mean business. Something like 1500 such examples had to be set back when light beer was a major felony. So… didn’t the economy boom during the Herbert Hoover Administration?

  2. Funny how the press always shows pictures of Daniel Pantaleo but rarely even mentions Kizzy Adonis, not to mention show her picture. Reason, obviously, is better than everybody.

  3. That one still kills me…Video evidence of one person choking another person to death is NOT enough evidence to send first person to trial. This country is SOOOOO fucked.

    1. Such video evidence would be more than enough evidence not only to send the person to trial, but to obtain a conviction, if the person doing the choking wasn’t a cop.

    2. There is no such evidence. Because he wasn’t choked to death. He died later cardiac arrest. Most likely from being so heavy and being in a prone position

      1. The video/audio evidence is clear.
        You can’t say anything, even “I can’t breathe”, if you are being choked. The essence of a “choking” is that one is deprived of the air that needs to pass the vocal cords, for the person to be heard.
        And refusing to be arrested is not passive resistance, it is the definition of the crime of resisting arrest, in most jurisdictions, a felony.
        If Eric Garner had complied with the officers, he would have emerged, unscathed.

        1. Cops have killed people who were complying. The guy in the Mesa hotel for instance.

          1. Bingo!

            1. But Eric Garner did not.So IceTrey and Wearenotperfect stop trying to change the subject.

          2. Yes but this is not one of those cases.

        2. Possibly having a heart attack and not being able to breathe. Had someone had a cop in a choke hold and he said “I can’t breathe” and later died, guess who would be charged with felony murder.

        3. This. I don’t understand why people continue to say he was choked to death. Well, really I DO understand. It fits an agenda. He knew he was breaking the law as he had been arrested for this offense before. He verbally and physically resisted. If they had used a taser, he probably would have had a heart attack. If they had beat him with clubs, people would still complain. How do you arrest someone without doing one of those things? Do you try to wait it out until he’s ready to comply? How many hours? Days?

          Don’t break the law. Don’t resist. If you have a problem with the arrest, tell the judge. That’s the process. It’s so simple and yet people still think they can do whatever they want. Darwinism is at work here.

        4. Exactly right retiredfire.

        5. I agree. Eric Garner contributed to his own death. He had been arrested at least 30 times and ignored the law and resisted arrest. He caused his own death and brought the law down on him because of his continuous rebelliousness.

      2. Exactly NashTiger

  4. Meanwhile, in Chicago, there are still questions about why the CPD effectively stopped a man for ‘walking like he owned a gun’, dispatched more than half a dozen officers to arrest him for the non-crime, and then released only the video of the last officer on the scene showing that the man did, in fact, have a gun before the officer shot him dead (rather than releasing the audio where the man would be clearly arrested for a crime before fleeing and then getting shot). The… selectively altered video… only being released with the explicit approval of the chief of police.

    There is, of course, also video of protesting afterwards and footage of people with their hands up being hit or beaten by police officers, too. People throwing water bottles, four arrests, minor injuries, no property destruction. It has all the makings of a case to take down *another* Chicago Police Chief, possibly oust the incumbent mayor in the upcoming election in a bankrupt city that has a pretty clear track record of buying it’s victims’ family’s silence to the tune of half a billion dollars over 6 yrs…. but I guess Chicago is too local.

    1. I’m kind of shocked that gangbangers never open up on the cops at protests with rifles.

      Cops at protest are typically not armed with anything that would have the range of a rifle.

    2. Just think about how events would have been covered if the press at the 1968 DNC Convention covered police brutality then the way they cover it today.

  5. Wanna buy a loosie?

  6. This is like a very delayed, rough, and cold-handed testicular massage long after the last spasms of pain have subsided from a pancaking suckerpunch to the nuts.

  7. Who in their right mind would live where selling a single cigarette requires a response from the police to choke you down ?
    NY city was losing what, 50 cents in taxes ? They spend the salary of 4 thug pigs to chase fifty cents ?
    And I will choose to live where one does not need as permit or permission to own a firearm.
    No way NY

  8. So the asian grocery he’s standing in front of (repeatedly for days) complains. Cops tell him to leave, he argues and fights with them and being big and fat gets piled on and pummeled. BTW, if you can say “I can’t breathe” it means you are breathing. Glad to see they learned some grammar (what is a “I can’t breath” t-shirt going for on e-bay?), and here’s how to not get your ass kicked by the police

    1. From the ignorant, bigoted, misoleo libertarians you here such crap like Garner was not selling cigarettes or the tax is idiotic. What nitwits!!!

  9. But yesterday, after the Department of Justice said it didn’t object to the city moving on the issue, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced that Officer Daniel Pantaleo, responsible for the deadly chokehold, and Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, his supervisor, will face an administrative trial next year.

    Wait…is Kizzy Adonis a real name or…like a stage name?

  10. Reminds me of the scene in Huckleberry Finn where one man faces down a mob of klansmen that happened to have forgotten to wear masks. NY First Responders? won’t repeat THAT mistake!

  11. Id like to see you deal with eight million people living inside of you, mr. smart guy

  12. They’re going to fix their idiotic tax policies that led to it?


    Then, no, they aren’t going to do anything.

  13. Just to be clear he wasn’t selling cigarettes that day. The arrest was complete harassment.

    1. Just to be clear the police were called because he was selling cigarettes. This is the only reason they were there.

  14. But the guy harassing and menacing a woman wearing a Puerto Rican flag t shirt simply gets a nod and move on sir if you feel like it from the cops there. No choke hold? No beat down from six police?

  15. Once again Reason and the rest of the libertarian nitwits act as judge, jury, and executioner. Just as they did with Ferguson libertarians have already pronounced Pantaleo guilty.

    Reason should change their name to Hypocrisy magazine.

  16. If you see an asthmatic with leaves in their pocket knock them down and kneel on their back. If they manage to gasp out that they can’t breathe don’t give them their inhaler and keep kneeling on them. Because someone with leaves in their pocket obviously deserves to die. The government says so and the government just wants to keep us safe.

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