Staten Island Advance
August 4, 2014

Chokehold cop Daniel Pantaleo 'distraught' over Eric Garner's death, according to report

By Zak Koeske | 


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The officer who placed Eric Garner in the chokehold that caused his death is "distraught" over the incident, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick J. Lynch said Sunday, according to the Daily News.

"I had the opportunity to speak with [Officer Daniel Pantaleo], he's distraught over it," Lynch reportedly said on a Sunday morning radio show hosted by Correction Officers' Benevolent Association president Norman Seabrook.

"No one wants to have to deal with the fact that someone died because of something they had to do. It's a terrible loss."

Lynch has fiercely defended Pantaleo's actions since a cell phone video surfaced showing the eight-year NYPD veteran place Garner in a banned chokehold as officers attempted to arrest him on July 17.

He called the NYPD's decision to place Pantaleo on modified duty following Garner's death, "a completely unwarranted, kneejerk reaction for political reasons and nothing more."

Lynch remained supportive of Pantaleo's actions following the medical examiner's announcement Friday that Garner's death was caused by the chokehold and classified as homicide.

"Things like this happen, unfortunately," Lynch said Sunday, according to the Daily News. "And that doesn't mean to lessen it -- it means it's the reality. In communities, we have to deal with the reality of the job we have to do."

The Daily News reports that Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, was skeptical that Pantaleo's expressed dismay over her son's death was sincere.

"He didn't listen to my son when he told him he couldn't breathe," Ms. Carr told the paper. "My son said it 11 times. So how could he be truly apologetic?"

Lynch took the opportunity of Ramsey Orta's arrest Saturday night on gun possession charges to issue a statement linking Garner's death at the hands of police to chronic crime in the neighborhood. Orta is the 22-year-old Tompkinsville man who captured the chokehold that killed Garner on video.

"The arrest of Ramsey Orta for criminal possession of a firearm only underscores the dangers that brought police officers to respond to a chronic crime condition in that community," he said. "Sadly, in the effort to keep neighborhoods like Tompkinsville safe, a tragedy occurred.  But that doesn't change the fact that police officers routinely risk their lives for the benefit of the community and that they have earned their support and understanding."