Eric Garner‘s mother took to the steps of City Hall on Tuesday to repeat her calls for criminal charges against the New York Police Department (NYPD) police officer who choked her son to death more than four years ago in Staten Island. But unlike her previous demands for justice, this one will “probably” result in an indictment of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, according to a new interview with an ex-NYPD official.
“We know as we sit here today that the career prosecutors and FBI agents in the Civil Rights Division in Washington have concluded their factual investigation,” Larry Byrne, the former head of the NYPD’s Legal Bureau, told NY 1’s Dean Meminger. “That means they have interviewed all of the witnesses, they reviewed all of the evidence. They have reviewed the video tape that we have all seen many, many times. And they have made a recommendation to the front office.”
The NYPD’s Legal Bureau “provides assistance to law enforcement personnel regarding department legal matters,” including assisting “members of the service in interpreting and enforcing state, federal, and local laws,” according to New York City’s official website.
“My suspicion, based on my seven years as a federal criminal prosecutor, is that they have probably recommended an indictment,” Byrne said.
If that happens, it would come slightly more than four years to the day after a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio assured Carr this past summer that her son “did not die in vain,” but he has come under heavy scrutiny for not doing more to bring Pantaleo to justice. De Blasio’s vow came one day after Carr called out the mayor for what she called “political procrastination.”
On Tuesday afternoon, she continued to point toward the mayor and expressed outrage that Pantaleo has continued to be gainfully employed by the NYPD while on desk duty earning what reports have said is at least $120,000 a year.
Garner was approached by undercover NYPD officers on July 17, 2014, for the alleged offense of selling untaxed loose cigarettes. When officers failed at handcuffing him for the nonviolent misdemeanor, Pantaleo employed an illegal chokehold that ultimately killed Garner. The entire deadly episode was captured on cellphone video and filmed by a bystander. Garner’s final words “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying call for social justice advocates who saw his death as a murder.
The pending decision from the Department of Justice will either be the end of the case or the start of legal proceedings against Pantaleo, Byrne said.
“The Garner family has been waiting four and half years,” he said. “The public, frankly, has been waiting four and a half years, and officer Pantaleo and his family have been waiting four and half years.”
Below are scenes from Tuesday’s press event at New Yor City Hall, where Carr was joined by local and national political figures and social justice advocates to demand justice in the name of Erica Garner.
Eric Garner’s Killer Will ‘Probably’ Be Indicted Soon, Former NYPD Legal Bureau Chief Says was originally published on newsone.com
“Ofc Pantaleo & Sgt. Adonis are only officers involved facing disciplinary charges. NONE have been held accountable...let’s be clear, it’s the @CCRB_NYC is pursuing this case NOT the NYPD.” @yulsan @watchthecops Justice for #EricGarner #Icantbreathe #fireNYPD pic.twitter.com/ljOmyzezdx— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy - Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) December 4, 2018
“4 & 1/2 years ago my son was murdered on video for the whole world to see, and NO ONE has been held accountable....Pantaleo is going home with a six-figure salary. We’re outraged & we’re not going to take it any more.” #EricGarner’s mother Gwen Carr #FireNYPD #Icantbreathe pic.twitter.com/BBV6RpPmPN— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy - Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) December 4, 2018
Standing with Gwen Carr, demanding justice for Eric Garner. All officers responsible must be held accountable - without accountability, there can be no justice. pic.twitter.com/X3srQa3v0t— Dan Quart (@AMDanQuart) December 4, 2018
“The NYPD has stalled for far too long on these discipline trials. The foot dragging and stalling tactics are not going to work. We will be here to see this through. As Eric lost his life, they should at least lose their jobs.” @DRichards13 #ICantBreathe #fireNYPD for #EricGarner pic.twitter.com/BJZAtsN5GK— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy - Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) December 4, 2018
Mother of Eric Garner, pols & activists call for termination of Officer Daniel Pantaleo and other officers involved in connection with her son’s death pic.twitter.com/Ntd529ZcZ4— Sydney Kashiwagi (@SydneyKashiwagi) December 4, 2018
“What the NYPD did to #EricGarner is example of the racist, classist violence against New Yorkers just trying to survive. Accountability is nothing short of firing all officers imvolved.” @SalazarSenate #fireNYPD #icantBreathe pic.twitter.com/vF1VCUkobk— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy - Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) December 4, 2018
“When he was running for mayor, as Public Advocate, @BilldeBlasio railed against NYPD behavior like what happened to #EricGarner. But now as Mayor, he’s done nothing to hold the cops who killed Garner accountable.” @JumaaneWilliams #Icantbreathe #FireNYPD pic.twitter.com/2JYHA1cxbX— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy - Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) December 4, 2018
“They thought we would march & then go away. But mothers don’t go away. And #EricGarner’s mother Gwen Carr isn’t going away. And we will stand with her every day as long as she fights for justice.” @monifabandele @MomsRising #icantBreathe #fireNYPD pic.twitter.com/Z55P6JNxXP— CPR #EndPoliceSecrecy - Change the NYPD (@changethenypd) December 4, 2018
No justice, no peace.— Harvey Epstein 哈維 D. 艾普斯汀(男) (@HarveyforNY) December 4, 2018
It’s been 4 years since #EricGarner was killed by police with a banned chokehold. We stand united to demand that when Officer Pantaleo faces a disciplinary hearing this week he faces a trial and is terminated. #fireNYPD for #EricGarner pic.twitter.com/tcs7GzHKFP
Today, 4 years after SI grand jury indicted no one in killing of #EricGarner, I stood at City Hall to demand justice with @GwenCarrERIC @changethenypd @VOCALNewYork @MomsRising @1199SEIU @NationalAction @watchthecops @DRichards13 @JumaaneWilliams @MrMikeBlake @KirstenJohnFoy pic.twitter.com/BX2nKeETgz— (((Rory Lancman))) (@RoryLancman) December 4, 2018