In what now stands as the only victory for Eric Garner’s family in their five-year struggle to get justice for the slain street hustler, today New York’s top cop, Commissioner James O’ Neil, announced that officer Daniel Pantaleo is finally being fired from his job. Pantaleo is the policeman who, in 2014, was caught on video jumping on Eric Garner’s back, administering an illegal chokehold, doggedly tightening it until Garner died.
Five months after the incident, which precipitated from Garner being questioned over selling $1.00 loosie cigarettes, local authorities decided not to charge Pantaleo or his accomplices in blue for anything involving the incident. No charges for strangling a man to death, on camera, in broad daylight.
The same went for William Barr’s Justice Department, which also decided not to charge Pantaleo with violating Eric Garner’s civil rights. Although Commissioner O’Neil stepped up and fired officer Pantaleo, he appears to have a lot of sympathy for the man. Remarking on what he would have done in Pantaleo’s shoes, the Comissioner said… “Had I been in officer Pantaleo’s situation I may have made similar mistakes…”
Though the Garner family may be happy about the Commissioner’s decision today, his admission that he may have committed the same mistake were he in Pantaleo’s shoes, has to be unsettling. To be clear… this means the current top cop in New York City isn’t sure whether he would choke an unarmed man to death over dollar cigarettes, even with tons of other police backup in the the area and on scene with him at the time.
We’ll keep an eye on where this circumstance goes from here. Now that former officer Pantaleo’s legal team has vowed to fight to get his job back, it’s still far from over. Until the next time it drips…