Eric Garner Died in 2014. Officer Pantaleo Goes on Trial Today.

Monday: The officer, accused of using a chokehold, could be fired after a trial within the Police Department.

Comments: 31

  1. It is unfathomable how Pantaleo was not indicted for his outright murder of Gardner. The guy was selling cigarettes. If the NYPD does not find Pantaleo guilty of using unnecessary and excessive force against Gardner, I will lose the little faith that I have in the department to police itself. Pantaleo should not be receiving any pay from NYC or the NYPD for any job with or without a gun and badge. He has proven his inability to act civilly and safely while dealing with the public. This little man needs to be shown the door.

  2. Agreed. Civil servants who commit acts of misconduct should be fired. People who commit acts like drinking on duty or stealing the belongings of fire victims have no place in the nyc workforce.

  3. I remember when Weeksville was "discovered." It was exciting, a really big deal. Everyone was hoping it would become a sort of laboratory for everything from New York City history to black studies to horticulture. But historic preservation might be a dying cause. Everywhere old houses -- whether owned by the city, the state, a particular county, or the NYC Board of Ed -- are falling apart. Our first Dutch schoolhouse inside Erasmus High School is rotting. The Board of Ed does not care. Various houses maintained by the Historic House Trust are needy. Money is scarce. On Long Island, Falaise looks as if it's about to crumble altogether. The county has no cash for repair. Our museums need upkeep, but people protest both entrance fees and fundraisers. Our most vulnerable properties are prey not just to the weather but also to vandals. We can't stop people from doing what they want, from jumping turnstiles to killing one another. We probably can't stop a developer from getting a zoning change so that he can build a tower that will overshadow our botanic garden and starve plantings of light. NYCHA has thousands -- yes, thousands -- of uninhabitable apartments awaiting renovation, but people say the 140 units of affordable housing proposed for the tower are worth the destruction of the Children's Garden, where kids from the neighborhood go to learn about vegetables. Hoping to save graceful remnants from other times is a fool's errand. That includes Weeksville.

  4. @B.: No, it's not a fool's errand by any means! In fact, if you bother to look, the Crowdrise funding campaign for Weeksville is currently at $242,000 - an amount of money raised in 12 days by some 3,700 people who DO care. Espousing a negative attitude is corrosive and will not result in any positive outcome. If you're angry, use your anger in a productive way - keep fighting the developer.

  5. I sign, I write, I give, I do. And have been. That is why optimism flags.

  6. The reason this trial has taken so long to come to the fore is very simple: New York's "criminal justice" system has delayed the process, in part, to drain the emotionality out of the situation. That enables the "system" to "whitewash" Pantaleo's actions and make his ultimate exoneration easier to bear for white people, who might otherwise have been enraged at the time of the incident. Time heals all wounds...and makes coverups easier to implement. In a rational world, Pantaleo would have been dismissed from the NYPD for poor judgement after a review the incident ( which can be found on you tube), and then prosecuted, without malice, for at least manslaughter. The other officers might have at least been dismissed from service. But the world isn't rational, so as long as law enforcement doesn't injure or otherwise inadvertently kill a white person all is well. It's like having a legalized crime organization policing the people and determining who will live and who will die. They even get away with it when it's on full public view.

  7. @KB This has nothing to do with New York's criminal justice system. This is an internal NYPD proceeding. There's no "whitewashing" going on. Pantaleo was already exonerated by a grand jury. There was already an unjust civil settlement, there has been deadlocked justice department investigation since 2014. If anything conspiratorial is happening here it's coming from politicians and bureaucrats who simply need to appease the rabble. They will keep "trying" this case until they get the results they need/want in order to satisfy the blood lust of the uninformed masses, whether that's in criminal court, civil rights court or now the internal affairs process in the NYPD. The only real conspiracy is Scott Stringer's breech of duty and his identity politicking.

  8. @KB Pantaleo was never "exonerated" by a grand jury. All grand juries do is determine whether or not there is enough evidence to move forward with a criminal trial. They don't determine guilt or innocence.

  9. @Johannes de Silentio Pantaleo was never "exonerated" by a grand jury. All grand juries do is determine whether or not there is enough evidence to move forward with a criminal trial. They don't determine guilt or innocence.

  10. The demonization of Officer Pantaleo continues unabated. Garner was a felon who resisted arrest and refused to comply with orders from multiple police officers, one of who was herself black. The situation escalated because of Garner's actions, not Pantaleo's.

  11. @Paul. This is not true. Witnesses stated that Garner was actually trying to break up a fight, he wasn't selling a cigarette for which he was arrested & had the gaul to complain about which apparently gave cops the right to kill him.

  12. Selling loose cigarettes on the street isn't a felony.

  13. Sorry. But we all know if a Black Police officer were involved in using a choke-hold on a white suspect that resulted in his death, what the outcome would be. That said, the lack of compassion for the Mr. Garner is just evidence of where we now stand as a society when it comes to matters of race. But on a much brighter note. I felt an instant jolt of nostalgia upon seeing that photo of a Checker cab. I still miss them.

  14. @N. Smith Just for your edification, the police officer in charge during the entire incident involving Gardner was a black woman.

  15. @paul Keep your edification. The "officer in charge" wan't the one who administered the choke hold. My point stands. And your comment proves it.

  16. The first line is wrong. Garner said I can’t breathe after the cop let go of his neck already.

  17. Sad that the only way African Americans can get reparations is in the form of a settlement after a cop has caused the death of a loved one. No matter the verdict, those of us who saw the video know all too well what happened to Mr. Garner who was allegedly selling a $1 cigarette (but actually was not). Reparations are not just for slavery but for all the racist forces that continue to deprive black Americans of opportunities, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness even to this day.

  18. We all know the officer will escape unscathed from his actions. Don't like it? Did you vote? Time to wake up...

  19. Had the arresting officers and first responders rendered aid to Eric Garner after his arrest and he survived that day we can examine the video dispassionately. Eric Garner was a huge man that resisted arrest. There is not one instance of excessive force let alone police brutality at any time anywhere in the video, not one. Since the arresting officers and first responders did not render aid after his arrest, the real crime in my mind, that folks directly contributed to the death of Eric Garner that day.

  20. Garner has no one but himself to blame. The police were called because Garner was selling loosies in front of a candy store which sells cigarettes. The store owner called the police because Garner was selling the same merchandise and thus, stealing his customers. A grand jury decided not to indict. None of us were there so we can't comment directly on the evidence presented. But, given the inflamed tensions involved in this case (as evidenced by some of the same rabble rousing from some of our commenters), the grand jury STILL refused to indict. It would seem logical that the DA would have done anything and everything to get an indictment. The decision to not indict must have been made because there was not a clear enough link between Pantaleo's actions and Garner's death. How many bites of the judicial apple do you anti-Pantaleo people want?

  21. @helton He committed a misdemeanor and so he has no one else to blame for being killed by an illegal chokehold? Who are you kidding?

  22. @KH It’s irrelevant if it was a misdemeanor or a felony. He resisted arrest, which is what started the chain of events. And if you believe that the police used a chokehold (which is against NYPD regulations), don’t you think the DA presented that info to the grand jury? Of course they did. And the grand jury still refused to indict. You and I were not present at the grand jury. Sometimes we have to accept decisions that we disagree with. That’s our legal system.

  23. This was outright murder. That little cop picked on Garner for no good reason. What was Garner's offense? Selling loose cigarettes that he himself owned? That's not illegal.

  24. @MIKEinNYC No, not, “murder.” It started as bulling, with Mr. Garner surrounded by uniformed police barking orders at him, that soon became a mob frenzy of police entitlment, and a contest among them on who would be the most aggressive. It was Pantaleo who escalated the frey further by physically wrestling with Garner culminating in Garner’s death. Did Pantaleo’s choke hold kill Garner? Certinly, if it never got physical, Garner would be alive today. It was the unnecessary escalation to physical confrontation that resulted in a loss of life. How about the other police officers standing around while Pantaleo was being aggressive? Why are they getting a pass? If I was being beaten by a cop, I certinly would want other cops to intervein and stop the assault. This is what is missing in so many of these police assaults, other police stepping in and doing the right thing. Standing by, and letting one of your team use excessive force should make everyone complicit. If those other officers were punished as well, we would start to see some real chips in the blue wall.

  25. @Prant You weren’t beaten by a cop because you would comply if a cop told you to, wouldn’t you?

  26. First, Garner, a morbidly obese, recidivist criminal known to the police officers who arrested him multiple times, didn’t start saying he couldn’t breath until he was on the ground. That was, after he was subdued by Pantaleo. Second, the article implies he’s “just now” standing “trial.” There was a Grand Jury review in 2014 that found no grounds for a criminal indictment. There has also been a Justice Dept. investigation that has so far delivered nothing. This current event is an internal review, technically not a “trial” in the common sense. Third, and most important this: “The city paid $5.9 million to Mr. Garner’s family to settle a wrongful death claim.” If there was no trial and no judge or jury found the NYPD at fault, why would the city settle? The person who immediately settled with no legal finding was Scott Stringer, NYC’s Comptroller. The Comptroller is charged with fiduciary oversight of the city’s finances. He represents taxpayer’s financial interest. Scott Stringer wants to be Mayor. Scott Stringer gave away $6 million tax payer dollars for personal political gain. The next investigation should center around him and his impeachment.

  27. @Johannes de Silentio So am I right in assuming that you believe that choking a person to death for selling cigarettes is proper action? Mr. Gardner's obesity plays no role in Pantaleo's actions. This is not the type of policing that anyone I know or I want in this city.

  28. @Rescue2 I’m in favor of the legal process, a jury, investigators and experts who analyze facts instead of feelings then make an informed decision. Like the autopsy that showed no damage to Garner’s tracheae. The analysis that showed it wasn’t a “choke hold” but a “seatbelt” hold, a standard, approved take-down technique. That Garner’s weight and other health issues played a major role. That 99% of people who resist arrest claim they are in distress. And that Garner’s 31 other arrests by the same police, at the same location for the same offense resulted in basically the same behavior on the part of Garner. You know, all the facts that lead to the Grand Jury’s decision to not indict. And he wasn’t taken down for selling cigarettes. He was taken down for resisting arrest. He refused to cooperate with police. Apparently, despite 31 other arrests, he didn’t know that selling loose cigarettes was still illegal and that if he did so he would go to jail... again.

  29. @Johannes de Silentio If police had arrested him before, then they knew he was not a violent man. So why kill him? Why not ask him about the episode in the manner of community policing? Witnesseses claim Garner wasn't selling cigarettes; he was trying to break up a fight. Police could not say that they saw him selling cigarettes--they assumed. I doubt 1 man had the authority to decide on such a sizable settlement. But full marks for smearing.

  30. Nobody will argue what Eric Garner did that day was wrong, but I want to ask these questions. Did what he did really warrant a choke hold? Weren't there more easier ways to arrest him besides doing that? Why was Pantaleo given nothing more than a slap on the wrist since then? Knowing his connections, he will probably get away with it and be cleared, which shows that you can easily win something thanks to having friends in high places. For some reason, I can almost equate this to a terrorist attack by Hamas, because whatever they do Israeli civilians, they are never condemned for their actions especially by the UN, which I do whenever I'm attacked in such a way.

  31. A very powerful set of stories mostly, but they say the sadness helps us appreciate great joy when it's here. . A-O-C so far brings me hope and joy. It was interesting to click through and. around and find A-O-C having fun with bring straightforward about not knowing what a garbage disposal is. (I recall my aunt in the 1990s being scared when my nephew didn't know how to use her rotary phone, but he'd really just never seen one before.)