A Staten Island man’s death on videotape while NYPD tried to apprehend him last week has dominated the news, and galvanized New Yorkers who have cried out against police brutality. The department took action and stripped the police officer accused of applying the fatal stranglehold of his badge and gun while it investigates the matter.
Although Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton addressed the matter with the department announcing it would place a pair of officers on desk duty, Officer Daniel Pantaleo was officially stripped of his duties.
Gothamist has more:
The police issued a statement, “Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo has been place on Modified Assignment pending further investigation into the July 17, 2014 incident involving Eric Garner in the 120 Precinct.”
Previously, it was announced that Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran, would be placed on desk duty along with Police Officer Justin Damico, a four-year veteran.
Police claim that Eric Garner, 43, was selling untaxed cigarettes and that the officers attempted to handcuff him around 4:45 p.m. on Thursday outside 202 Bay Street in Tompkinsville. A disturbing video obtained by the Daily News shows Garner arguing with the police: “I was just minding my own business. Every time you see me you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today!” When a number of cops try to subdue him, Garner, who weighed 350 pounds, is seen swatting their hands away and saying, “Don’t touch me, please.”
As Pantaleo puts him in a chokehold, other officers struggle to pull him to the ground and get his arms behind his back. Garner, an asthmatic, can be heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” The NYPD says he went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at Richmond University Medical Center.
Rev. Al Sharpton led a Saturday rally in Staten Island organized by his National Action Network group, calling for justice on behalf of the Garner family. Sources told major New York papers that there doesn’t appear to be evidence of damage to Garner’s neck, but the video is incriminating enough for a case to be built against the NYPD.
Officer Pantaleo has not been officially charged with any wrongdoing.
Photo: YouTube/Pix 11, NY Daily News