New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill dismissed officer Daniel Pantaleo from duty, on Monday, Aug. 19. Pantaleo is the police officer accused of using unnecessary force during the arrest of Eric Garner on July 17, 2014, Garner died shortly after the arrest.
The police commissioner’s decision follows the ruling by a New York police department administrative court, on Aug. 2, concluding that Pantaleo should be dismissed for using an illegal chokehold that contributed to Garner’s death. The court did not find Pantaleo guilty on a charge of aggravated assault, however.
Pantaleo, age 33, had been suspended from duty since the Aug. 2 ruling.
The confrontation between Garner and police arose as Garner was being arrested on Staten Island for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Video footage taken by nearby residents, using their cellphones, showed a group of four police officers subduing Eric Garner on a city sidewalk. Garner was heard telling the officers, “I can’t breathe.”
In December 2014, a grand jury in Staten Island ruled Eric Garner’s death to be a homicide, resulting from fatal complications from trauma. A police department internal investigation, in January 2015, determined that Pantaleo used a chokehold to take down Garner during the arrest, a maneuver that is banned by the NYPD.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr also reviewed the case against Pantaleo, but declined to bring federal charges against the officer, due to the high standard of proving intent-to-harm in federal civil rights cases.