More than five years after a confrontation over the alleged illegal sale of one cigarette led him to put Staten Island man Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired Monday by police commissioner James O’Neill.
“The unintended consequences of Eric Garner’s death must have consequences of its own,” O’Neill said at a news conference at police headquarters in Lower Manhattan. “It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.”
New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill announces his decision to fire NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo Monday at Police Headquarters in New York City. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
At a rally outside 1 Police Plaza, Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, expressed no pity for Pantaleo over his firing.
“Yeah, Pantaleo, you may have lost your job, but I lost a son July 17, 2014," Carr told a group of 75 people. "I lost my son. You cannot replace that. You can get another job. Maybe at Burger King.”
Mayor de Blasio, at his own news conference, said what happened to Garner should never happen again.
“Today we are finally seeing justice done,” the mayor said. “Today we saw the NYPD’s own disciplinary process act fairly and impartially.”
Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, said the fired officer — who joined the NYPD in 2006 — will file an appeal to get his job back.
Police Benevolent Association Patrick Lynch and London said they had received an offer from the city that would have let Pantaleo keep his full pension if he agreed to leave on his own — but that the offer was later pulled, leaving Pantaleo with a pension based only on his personal contribution. Police spokeswoman Devora Kaye confirmed a pension deal was discussed.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at a City Hall news conference Monday discussed NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill's firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)
De Blasio said no such discussion ever took place. “Don’t believe anything Pat Lynch says,” the mayor said.
Garner’s daughter, Emerald Snipes-Garner, wore a t-shirt with the word “murderer” written across a picture of Pantaleo.
“I thank you for doing the right thing,” Snipes-Garner said in a message to O’Neill during a news conference with the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network. "Regardless of how you came to your decision, you finally made a decision that should have been made five years ago.
She urged the department to fire the other officers involved in the arrest.
“I don’t want to see another video of a person being choked out,” Snipes-Garner said. “I should be here with my father. Pantaleo took that away from me.”
“Though this may be good for the city, this is not some moment of pleasure and joy for the family that has lost so much,” Sharpton said.
“I can’t breathe,” Garner cried out 11 times as he was brought down to the sidewalk on Bay St., as seen in a cellphone video exclusively obtained by the Daily News that went viral and drew cries of outrage from around the world.
Garner, suspected of selling loosies — individual, untaxed cigarettes that merchants complain undercut their licensed businesses — told police he had just broken up a fight and did nothing wrong.
Emerald Garner, daughter of Eric Garner, appears with Rev. Al Sharpton to address the media at the NAN Headquarters on W. 145th Street in Manhattan after NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill announced his decision to fire Daniel Pantaleo. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)