In response to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill’s decision to fire Daniel Pantaleo, the Justice Committee issued the following statement from Co-Director Loyda Colon:
Firing Pantaleo is the only reasonable decision O’Neill could have made, but let's be clear: in spite of the fact that the whole world saw Pantaleo wrap his arm around Garner’s throat, Pantaelo’s termination only happened because of half a decade of citywide organizing and the unwavering leadership of Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother.
If left to their own devices, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill would have allowed Garner’s murder to fade from NYC’s collective memory with zero accountability. Look at the facts: in January 2015, in spite of IAB’s recommendation that Pantaleo be charged, O’Neill and the NYPD Department Advocate’s Office chose NOT to charge him. The CCRB, not the NYPD’s DAO, prosecuted Pantaleo.
Pantaleo’s termination is movement victory, but this struggle is far from over. For the last five years, the disciplinary process for Sgt. Kizzy Adonis – the only other officer involved in Garner's murder who has been charged – has been stalled. Officer Justin D’Amico, who declined to mention the use of force against Garner in official reports and falsely charged Garner with a felony after he was already dead, has not been charged. Lt. Christopher Bannon, who texted “not a big deal” when he found out Garner might be dead, has not been charged. Officers Ramos and Furlani, who testified that they heard Garner say he couldn't breathe and yet did nothing to stop the violence, as well as multiple other officers who either participated or allowed it to happen, have not been charged. This lack of accountability constitutes an ongoing injustice done to Mrs. Carr, her son, and her family.
Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill must ensure ALL of these officers are fired from the NYPD. Unless they do this, they have no business speaking Eric Garner’s name without hanging their heads in shame.