No federal charges against NYPD officer in Eric Garner case

1010 WINS Newsroom
July 16, 2019 - 8:02 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Federal prosecutors will announce that they will not bring federal charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, as the statute of limitations is due to run out on Wednesday.

US Attorney Richard Donoghue says Attorney General William Barr made the final decision himself not to charge Pantaleo.

"Let me say as clearly and unequivocally as I can that Mr. Garner’s death was a tragedy. For anyone to die under circumstances like these is a tremendous loss. For the family to suffer as this family has only compounds that loss," Donoghue said in a statement, "But these unassailable facts are separate and distinct from whether a federal crime has been committed. And the evidence here does not support charging Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo or any other officer with a federal criminal civil rights violation."

Donoghue invited Eric Garner’s family to meet with him before a press conference held Tuesday morning with Rev. Al Sharpton.

Eric Garner's daughter, Emerald appeared after the meeting and spoke to those assembled, “This man choked my father outside on the street. Choked him with no remorse.”

"He was killed on the streets, and this cop is still hired. He's still on the police force.," she added, "And why? Because if Eric Garner would have fought back he would have been in a f------ jail cell."

Shapton described the decision not to bring charges a "moral disgrace'' and "judicial malpractice.''

Gwen Carr, Garner's mother, said the government "has let us down.''

Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “With the fifth anniversary of the tragic death of Eric Garner less than 24 hours away, federal law enforcement agencies have just announced they will not pursue charges against Officer Pantaleo. Years ago, we put our faith in the federal government to act. We won’t make that mistake again.

“New York City is not the same city it was five years ago. We are a different city, and we must act like a different city. Moving forward, we will not wait for the federal government to commence our own disciplinary proceedings," he continued.

The NYPD announced over Twitter that the decision of the Department of Justice does not affect their internal departmental proceedings, saying, "The NYPD internal department disciplinary case against Police Officer Pantaleo is proceeding and a determination has NOT yet been made.

Today’s announcement by the US Department of Justice does not affect this process."

It will be five years tomorrow since cell phone video captured Pantaleo confronting Garner on Staten Island about selling loose cigarettes.

When Garner argued and refused to be handcuffed, Pantaleo put him in what the medical examiner determined was a chokehold as Garner said, “I can’t breathe.”

The video reveals Garner saying, "I can't breathe" at least 11 times before losing consciousness.

Garner's death and cry of "I can't breathe," became a rallying point for activists fighting for police reform around the country.

Pantaleo says the maneuver was not a chokehold, which was at issue in a departmental trial he was put on by the NYPD earlier this year.

A Staten Island jury did not indict Pantaleo on state criminal charges.

Tuesday’s announcement comes as the family awaits a judge’s findings in the NYPD trial.

Pantaleo has remained employed by the department but out of the field.

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