“I CAN’T BREATHE…”
…These were the last words of Eric Garner as he was choked to death by police officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014.
The cops were called because Garner was allegedly selling cigarettes.
Garner was unarmed and was not resisting arrest.
Pantaleo’s trial will start Monday. He may face losing precious vacation days or being fired if he is found to have violated rules regarding the reckless and intentional use of a choke hold.
Pantaleo has reportedly been on desk duty since Garner’s death however, a grand jury on Staten Island refused to indict Pantaleo on criminal charges. Federal prosecutors have until July to file civil rights charges, if they plan to do so.
“It has been nearly five years since this tragic incident,” Judge Madden issued her ruling. “The Garner family, the police officer and the public should have resolution of the issues involved in this trial.”
The Civilian Complaint Review Board is serving as the prosecution in Pantaleo’s administrative case under a memorandum of understanding with the NYPD. Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, contends that the department, which conducted its own internal affairs investigation, should be handling the prosecution.
Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said she was relieved that Madden ruled to allow the case to proceed. London said that the ruling was anticipated but that he was obligated to try and delay the trial.
Garner, who was 43, refused to be handcuffed after police stopped him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Pantaleo is seen on a widely watched cellphone video putting Garner in an apparent chokehold, which is banned under NYPD policy. Garner is heard gasping, “I can’t breathe.”
London said he plans to call up to 10 witnesses at the trial, including a training officer who taught Pantaleo an approved technique known as a “seat-belt hold” that London says is being confused with a chokehold.
At a department hearing last month, London said the NYPD’s chief surgeon ruled in 2014 that Pantaleo hadn’t used a chokehold on Garner.
If Pantaleo takes the witness stand it will be a “game-time decision,” London said.
Garner, who had asthma, reportedly suffered a heart attack in an ambulance and was pronounced dead at a hospital. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide caused in part by a chokehold.
Garner’s family received $5.9 million from the city in 2015 to settle a wrongful death claim.
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Why are cops, politicians, and ordinary people afraid of black men??? Regardless of the reason, the result is the Chokehold: laws and practices that treat every Black man like a thug…
In this new book, an African American former federal prosecutor shows that the system is working exactly the way it was designed to. With Black men under watch, and unjustified police violence widespread – all with the support of judges, prosecutors, and politicians.
In his no-holds-barred style, Butler, whose scholarship has been featured on 60 Minutes, uses new data to demonstrate that white men commit the majority of violent crime in the United States.
For example, a white woman is ten times more likely to be raped by a white male acquaintance than be the victim of a violent crime perpetrated by a black man.
Butler also frankly discusses the problem of black on black violence and how to keep communities safer, without relying as much on police.
Chokehold demonstrates why current efforts to reform law enforcement will not create lasting change. Butler’s controversial recommendations about how to crash the system, and when it’s better for a black man to plead guilty – even if he’s innocent – are sure to be game-changers in the national debate about policing, criminal justice, and race relations in America.