The administrative NYPD trial to determine the fate of the officer who used an illegal chokehold to kill Eric Garner nearly five years ago has come to an end, according to reports. However, there was no telling when, or if, the trial’s verdict, let alone any punishments for Daniel Pantaleo, would be announced.
As ABC News reported, “it’s a mystery when the presiding judge will give a recommendation on the future of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.”
The trial ended on its seventh day after a handful of delays since it began more than three weeks ago. The Civil Complaint Review Board (CCRB) repeated its stance to get Pantaleo fired as the trial wrapped up, but that was the worst that could happen to the officer on Staten Island, where the 2014 killing that was captured on video took place.
“CCRB recommends a penalty of termination without his pension,” prosecuting lawyer Suzanne O’Hare said as part of her closing arguments. “Officer Pantaleo forfeitured his right and privilege to be a police officer in the city of New York.”
One seemingly damning fact revealed from the trial was the fact that an NYPD officer admitted that he trumped up the charges against Garner in an effort to justify his chokehold death.
“Officer Justin Damico testified that after riding in an ambulance with the dying Garner, he went ahead on his own and filled out arrest papers listing a felony tax charge that would have required prosecutors to prove Garner, a small-time street hustler, had sold 10,000 untaxed cigarettes,” the Associated Press reported.
Earlier in the trial, it was also revealed that NYPD Lt. Christopher Bannon was texting with another officer shortly after Pantaleo’s violently killing in Staten Island, where Garner was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center. When Bannon was told that Garner didn’t have a pulse, Bannon texted back: “Not a big deal.”
Even though the trial was open to the public, its verdict may not be made public immediately. The decision “will be sent to the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, who has the authority to uphold, modify or even vacate the ruling,” the Times reported earlier this month.
Jail time for Pantaleo was ruled out after a Staten Island grand jury declined to recommend criminal charges against him, leaving his future in limbo ad he continued to ork for the NYPD and even got at least one significant pay raise.
Pantaleo’s trial came about a month after the NYPD implausibly determined that Garner was not killed by a chokehold. That questionable decision could provide a hint at what to expect from Pantaleo’s trial.
Garner’s mother blasted what she called the NYPD’s “tricks” and “lies” during the trial’s first day on May 13.
“The day after Mother’s Day, to have to watch the video that the world saw of my son being killed, to be at this trial after five years, and to see all of the tricks that Pantaleo’s lawyers are trying to pull to avoid accountability, it’s really hard,” Gwen Carr said at the time.
Garner was approached by undercover NYPD officers on July 17, 2014, for the alleged offense of selling untaxed loose cigarettes. When officers failed at handcuffing him for the nonviolent misdemeanor, Pantaleo was caught on video with his arms wrapped tightly around Garner’s neck from behind. The chokehold ultimately killed Garner. The entire deadly episode was captured on cellphone video and filmed by a bystander. Garner’s final words “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying call for social justice advocates who saw his death as a murder.