Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who was fired for using the illegal chokehold that killed Eric Garner, will not get his job back after an appellate court ruled to uphold his firing, reported ABC News.
Pantaleo was fired in 2019 by former New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill following a departmental trial which found him guilty of using the chokehold while trying to arrest Garner for selling loose cigarettes in 2014. He was not charged with murder or contributing to Garner’s death, just for using an improper and unallowable restraint tactic.
Additional charges related to Garner’s death were not pursued by a Staten Island grand jury, where the incident took place, nor by the Department of Justice.
Thursday’s ruling in the appellate court supported the NYPD findings at Pantaleo’s original trial that he had “disregard” for the injury the tactic posed when it was employed.
“Substantial evidence supports respondents’ conclusion that petitioner recklessly caused injury to Eric Garner by maintaining a prohibited chokehold for 9 to 10 seconds after exigent circumstances were no longer present, thereby disregarding the risk of injury,” the court ruled.
An attorney for Pantaleo said that he is exploring other legal remedies for his client at this time.
Garner’s death led to a national movement due in part to his final words, “I can’t breathe,” which were uttered as Pantaleo held him in the chokehold.
The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide as it triggered a fatal asthma attack and stated the cause was “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Garner’s words resurfaced again in the summer of 2020 when George Floyd, a Black man, repeated them while a police officer held a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds as he, too, died.