New York Daily News

December 10, 2014, 9:03 AM


 

NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau grills Officer Daniel Pantaleo in review of Eric Garner chokehold death 

 

IAB investigators interviewed Officer Daniel Pantaleo regarding his actions on July 17, a source said. The interview happened Monday. IAB had to wait for the Staten Island District Attorney's investigation to conclude. That case was presented to a grand jury, but the panel chose not to indict the cop.

BY THOMAS TRACY

The NYPD’s internal investigation of Eric Garner’s death has produced the first official police interview of the cop who put the Staten Island man into a chokehold.

Internal Affairs Bureau investigators questioned Officer Daniel Pantaleo on Monday — an important step in the departmental review of the controversial case, a source close to the process told the Daily News.

A Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict Pantaleo, 29, on criminal charges in Garner’s July 17 death, a decision that was announced last week and sparked protests in New York and across the country. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the case.

In a video obtained exclusively by the Daily News, Pantaleo was seen putting Garner into a chokehold — a move that is banned by NYPD regulations — as officers tried to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes on Bay St. in Tompkinsville. Garner, 43, could be heard saying 11 times that he could not breathe, before he ultimately lost consciousness.

The NYPD’s review of the case had to wait for the state criminal investigation to run its course, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “We are now free to move forward with our investigation,” Bratton said last week, noting that “in all likelihood” there would be a departmental trial.

“I can’t give you a timeline on that,” Bratton said of the IAB probe,” but it will be somewhat expeditious.”

On Friday, IAB interviewed a handful of cops who responded to the scene where Garner was taken into custody, including Pantaleo’s partner, Officer Justin Damico, officials said.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said last week that Pantaleo should be given a second chance.

“He’s a model of what we want a police officer to be,” Lynch said. “He’s literally ... literally an Eagle Scout.”

“He wants to get back out and protect his community, and he should be allowed to do so,” Lynch argued.

ttracy@nydailynews.com