Monday, August 19, 2019

DOJ Won't Bring Federal Charges Against NYPD Officers Involved in Eric Garner's Death

The Department of Justice will not file federal civil rights charges again NYPD officers involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, according to emerging reports.

The decision not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo comes a day before the statute of limitations was set to expire, on the fifth anniversary of the encounter that led to Garner’s death.

Officers were attempting to arrest Garner on charges he sold loose, untaxed cigarettes outside a Staten Island convenience store. He refused to be handcuffed, and officers took him down.

Garner is heard on bystander video crying out “I can’t breathe” at least 11 times before he falls unconscious.

A state grand jury also refused to indict the officer on criminal charges.

Garner’s family and attorney were meeting with federal prosecutors at 10 a.m. Tuesday. A news conference was planned after with the Rev. Al Sharpton, and they were expected to address the outcome.

Pantaleo maintained he used a legal takedown maneuver called the “seatbelt.”

The New York Police Department brought Pantaleo up on departmental charges earlier this year. Federal prosecutors were observing the proceedings. An administrative judge has not ruled whether he violated policy.

“It doesn’t do a lot,” Garner’s mother said of Pantaleo’s possible firing. “It’s just that we must have some type of accountability. Some type of responsibility. Where the police officers are held accountable and pay for their misconduct. If we just sit aside on the sidelines and let it go, it’s going to keep on happening.”

Stuart London, a lawyer for Pantaleo, said of Garner this year: “He was a ticking time bomb and set these facts in motion by resisting arrest.”

“[Pantaleo] has been characterized as an overly aggressive officer with a history of this sort of behavior, and nothing can be further from the truth,” said London. “This was a regular patrolman doing regular police work.”

U.S. attorneys with the Eastern District of New York will hold a press conference on the matter Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Joshua Caplan

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