The New York Police Department has announced it plans to begin proceedings against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Eric Garner in a fateful chokehold four years ago.
Lawrence Byrne, the department’s deputy commissioner of legal matters, announced the decision via a letter to the U.S. Justice Department, according to The New York Times. The NYPD gave the DOJ an ultimatum: if it doesn't act before August 31, the department will put Pantaleo on trial the following day.
“Understandably, members of the public in general and the Garner family in particular have grown impatient with the fact that NYPD has not proceeded with our disciplinary proceedings, and they have difficulty comprehending a decision to defer to a federal criminal investigation that seems to have no end in sight,” Byrne wrote.
“The NYPD has come to the conclusion that given the extraordinary passage of time since the incident without a final decision on the U.S. DOJ’s criminal investigation, any further delay in moving ahead with our own disciplinary proceedings can no longer be justified.”
Pantaleo has been doing administrative work since Garner’s death. Patrick Lynch, president of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, released a statement in support of Pantaleo and expressing hope that he would get a fair trial.
“We agree that the Justice Department’s leadership should move to close Police Officer Pantaleo’s case and put an end to what has been a highly irregular fishing expedition by those seeking an indictment at all cost. However, that should not trigger a race by the NYPD to reach a pre-determined outcome in its own disciplinary processes,” Lynch wrote.
“Police Officer Pantaleo is entitled to due process and an impartial consideration of the facts. If that is allowed to occur, we are confident that he will be vindicated and will finally be able to move forward.”
Esaw Snipes, Garner’s wife and mother of their daughter Erica (who died in December 2017) isn’t hopeful.
“I’m kind of like skeptical about everything now,” Snipes said. “If something happens then great, but I’ve kind of like given up hope. It’s been so long. It’s been four years.”
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