The New York City Police Department suspended Officer Daniel Pantaleo after a judge recommended he be fired Friday, but the police force is pushing back on the recommendation.
Pantaleo has been on desk duty since he was accused of using a chokehold to arrest Eric Garner in 2014. Garner died after reportedly saying “I can’t breathe” as Pantaleo performed the chokehold, which some allege was an illegal maneuver. Pantaleo has denied using excessive force in the arrest.
An administrative judge recommended that Pantaleo be fired Friday. Since then, Pantaleo has been suspended, which is standard procedure if a police officer is recommended to be fired, Deputy Commissioner Phil Walzak said, according to the Associated Press.
“This decision is pure political insanity,” Pat Lynch, the Police Benevolent Association President, said according to a statement Friday. “If this is allowed to stand, it will paralyze the NYPD for years to come.”
Firing Pantaleo would show every cop that they are “expendable,” the statement reads.
NYC Mayor and 2020 Presidential candidate Bill de Blasio spoke in a news conference following the judge’s recommendation Friday.
“Today, for the first time in these long five years, the system of justice is working,” de Blasio said Friday. “Today we finally saw a step towards justice and accountability. We saw a process that was actually fair and impartial.”
Attorney General William P. Barr ordered the case be dropped earlier in July after a Staten Island grand jury did not indict Pantaleo. De Blasio was interrupted by protestors shouting “Fire Pantaleo!” during Wednesday’s Democratic debate.
A decision on whether to fire Pantaleo will be made by Commissioner James O’Neill this month, the police department said, according to the AP.