Daniel Pantaleo has finally been fired for killing Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold over five years ago in Staten Island. However, there are calls for the other police officers to be punished. That said, there is only one police officer who faced any repercussions in the Garner case and that happens to be a Black woman officer named Kizzy Adonis.
The New York Times reports, “the final police disciplinary case to arise from the death of Eric Garner was brought to a close Wednesday when the sergeant who had arrived on the scene as officers pressed Mr. Garner to the ground made a deal to forfeit 20 vacation days and keep her job.” She had been charged with multiple counts of failure to supervise.
Kizzy Adonis, 42, is the only other officer to be punished — although losing 20 vacation days isn’t much of a punishment but compared to the other officers it is peculiar that she is the only one facing consequences.
In the video of Garner being killed, Adonis can only be seen standing in the background. Nonetheless, the New York Times reports, “The police commissioner found fault with her handling of the encounter, according to an official who requested anonymity to discuss the case because police disciplinary matters are confidential.”
Corruption was definitely exposed in the Garner case. For example, during the trial, NYPD officer Justin Damico admitted hat 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.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill decision to fire Pantaleo came more than two months after the conclusion of an NYPD administrative trial to decide the professional fate of the officer, who has remained gainfully employed by the department since a video showed him using a banned chokehold on Garner, who was supposedly suspected of the nonviolent crime of selling loose and untaxed cigarettes in public. The status of Pantaleo’s NYPD pension was unclear after O’Neill’s announcement.
Judge Rosemarie Maldonado recommended earlier this month that O’Neill should fire Pantaleo. On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Maldonado said Pantaleo’s version of Garner’s death was “untruthful” and “disingenuous” during the disgraced cop’s accounts to investigators. She also said the other officers who testified were “unhelpful or unreliable.”
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 have maintained that his death was a murder.
The Department of Justice failed to bring any criminal charges against Pantaleo.