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October 23, 2019

Daniel Pantaleo challenges firing decision, sues to get job back

By Irene Spezzamonte

<p">STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Former Staten Island police officer Daniel Pantaleo, fired for his role in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to get his job back, his lawyer Stuart London confirmed to the Advance.

Pantaleo filed an Article 78, a proceeding that is used to appeal a decision made by a local agency or by the state of New York, London said.

London did not provide a comment about the lawsuit to the Advance on Wednesday night. The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan civil court, according to the New York Post.

Commissioner James O’Neill announced in August that Pantaleo would be terminated in connection with Eric Garner’s police custody death.

Police unions have called the personnel move a travesty, predicting it would discourage cops from making arrests out of fear of being reprimanded, and they accused O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio of bending to public scrutiny.

O’Neill said the decision was based primarily on the opinion of NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado, who determined Pantaleo used a banned chokehold that led to the death of Garner during an arrest of Garner, who was reported to have been selling loose cigarettes.

London defined Pantaleo’s firing decision as “arbitrary and capricious," the New York Post reported on Wednesday.