A judge has recommended that the New York police officer who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in 2014 should be fired.
The judge, who is presiding over the disciplinary trial of NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo, made the recommendation on Friday, law enforcement sources told reporters. But the recommendation doesn’t mean an automatic dismissal from the department. More from NBC New York:
Next, both Pantaleo’s attorney and attorneys for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which prosecuted the case, will have an opportunity to meet with the judge to discuss the decision before it goes to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, who will ultimately make the decision on the officer’s future. The attorneys have up to two weeks to do that, then the departmental judge sends her final findings to O’Neill, who will decide whether to fire Pantaleo or not.
The Department of Justice said in July that Pantaleo would not face charges in the killing. Video of the incident showed Garner crying out “I can’t breathe” several times before he died.
New York’s Civilian Complaint Review Board agreed with the judge’s assessment in a statement.
“The evidence the CCRB’s prosecutors brought forth at trial was more than sufficient to prove that Pantaleo is unfit to serve,” the group said. “Commissioner O’Neill must uphold this verdict and dismiss Pantaleo from the Department.”
Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner Snipes, told CNN that if Pantaleo isn’t fired, “it’s not gonna be pretty.”
“I couldn’t map it out for you, but just stay tuned and the Garner family is not going away until we get what we want — and that’s justice, in one form or another,” Snipes said.