Almost four years after a police officer killed Eric Garner, the New York City Police Department is moving forward with a disciplinary trial against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who put Garner in a fatal chokehold in 2014.
NYPD called on the Department of Justice to wrap up its investigation into Garner’s death on Monday, saying it would proceed with its own trial if the federal government did not announce it will file criminal charges against Pantaleo by Aug. 31, according to a letter from NYPD lawyer Lawrence Byrne to the DOJ.
The DOJ told NYPD on Wednesday that it could move forward with its proceedings against Pantaleo, as well as his supervisor, Sgt. Kizzy Adonis.
“It has become clear that a definite date by which time a final decision by the U.S. DOJ will be rendered in this matter cannot be predicted,” Byrne wrote on Monday.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board will lead the case regarding Pantaleo and the NYPD Department Advocate will lead the case against Adonis, according to NYPD.
NYPD originally said it planned to move forward with disciplinary proceedings against Pantaleo on Sept. 1.
“Given the extraordinary passage of time since the incident without a final decision on the U.S. DOJ’s criminal investigation, any further delay in moving ahead with our own disciplinary proceedings can no longer be justified,” the letter reads.
NYPD’s internal disciplinary trial is not a criminal one, but Pantaleo could lose his job. He was stripped of his gun and badge and taken off active duty in 2014.
Garner, 43, died as Pantaleo arrested him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Pantaleo used a neck hold to bring Garner down and held him while Garner repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” His death was captured on video and went viral, sparking Black Lives Matter protests nationwide to call for criminal justice reform and bring attention to police brutality.
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, responded to the news on Monday by saying that it’s time justice was served for her son.
“I’m always going to have faith, because the whole world saw what happened to my son,” she said.
The Department of Justice opened its investigation into Garner’s death in December 2014 after a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo. New York City settled out of court with Garner’s family for $5.9 million in 2015.
This article has been updated with comment from Gwen Carr and to reflect that NYPD is moving forward with its disciplinary trial.