New York City

Pantaleo fired from NYPD five years after Garner’s death

De Blasio: ‘Today we have finally seen justice done.’

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill at the press conference, announcing NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo's termination.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill at the press conference, announcing NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo's termination. Richard Drew/AP/Shutterstock

Five years, one month and two days after Eric Garner died on Staten Island, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill fired Daniel Pantaleo from the force.

“It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer,” O’Neill said at a press conference at NYPD headquarters on Monday afternoon.

The decision follows an NYPD judge’s recommendation that Pantaleo be fired for putting Garner in a chokehold – a maneuver explicitly prohibited by the department – while arresting him on July 17, 2014. O’Neill had the final say in the case, and opted for the strongest punishment allowed in an internal trial: termination from the force. Pantaleo is allowed to appeal the ruling, but if it stands, O’Neill said Pantaleo wouldn’t be eligible for pension. 

O’Neill spoke for 32 minutes at the press conference, mostly using muted legalese to describe the long-awaited verdict while repeatedly emphasizing this was a “fair and impartial trial.” 

In the five years since Garner’s death, the case has been a fault line between criminal justice reform advocates who demanded the officer be punished, and supporters of Pantaleo, who insisted he was being scapegoated for doing his best in a dangerous situation. 

O’Neill anticipated that rank-and-file officers – and their outspoken labor union, the Police Benevolent Association – would be furious at the decision to fire Pantaleo.

“I’ve been a cop a long time,” O’Neill said, ”and if I was still a cop, I’d probably be mad at me.”

PBA President Patrick Lynch followed through in a press conference following O’Neill’s ruling. 

“This was not a crime. This was a chaotic situation,” Lynch said. “You have to ask for fairness for all. And we have not received that fairness.”

Garner’s family was restrained in response to the decision. The Rev. Al Sharpton has worked closely with the Garner family since the death, and hosted a press conference following O’Neill’s ruling Monday. “Though this may be good for the city that the city enforce its policies, this is not some moment of pleasure or joy for a family that has lost so much,” Sharpton said. “Today is a better day than it’s been, but it’s a day that’s five years too late.”

A Staten Island grand jury failed to bring a criminal case against Pantaleo in 2014. Since then, O’Neill and city officials have blamed the federal government for delaying a possible case against Pantaleo on civil rights grounds. President Donald Trump’s Justice Department confirmed this year that it wouldn’t bring a case before the statute of limitations ran out, leaving this internal NYPD disciplinary trial the only venue where Pantaleo was actually tried. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been under scrutiny for not acting sooner to resolve the case, with critics on both sides protesting him on the presidential campaign trail. Speaking on Monday afternoon, de Blasio declared the case closed, calling O’Neill’s ruling “an end of the chapter that has brought our people so much pain and so much fear over these last five years. … Today we have finally seen justice done.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.