Protesters hit Democratic debate: ‘I can’t breathe’ chants interrupt NYC mayor Bill de Blasio over demands to fire cop in fatal Eric Garner chokehold – then Joe Biden is hit by immigration uproar
- Two different sets of protesters were ejected from the Democratic debate
- One woman held a sign: ‘Stop all deportations on Day One’
- A group of five were removed after they demanded Mayor Bill de Blasio fire Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold in 2014
- ‘We are part of this protest because it has to be made clear to America that black life is valuable,’ Rev. Kirsten John Foy told reporters
- Julian Castro went after Bill de Blasio in the debate for not doing enough for the family of Eric Garner
- NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo was filmed on cellphone putting unarmed black man Eric Garner in a chokehold in Staten Island, New York on July 17, 2014
- Garner was heard on video crying out ‘I can’t breathe’ at least 11 times before he fell unconscious and later died
- The Justice Department decided on July 16 this year not to bring charges against Pantaleo for the deadly encounter
- The NYPD concluded a 24 day-long disciplinary hearing with Pantaleo on June 6, overseen by an administrative judge but her findings have not been released
Protesters hit night two of the second Democratic presidential debate with a group of them removed Wednesday night after they demanded New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio fire Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in a deadly chokehold in 2014, and a woman interrupted Joe Biden to chant about immigrants being deported.
‘Stop all deportations on Day One,’ read the large banner the woman unfurled in the hall of the Fox Theater while Biden and Julian Castro were debating immigration policy.
‘Three million deportations!’ others shouted.
Earlier, in the opening moments of the debate, a group yelled ‘Fire Pantaleo’ during de Blasio opening statement at the Fox Theater.
‘We are part of this protest because it has to be made clear to America that black life is valuable,’ Rev. Kirsten John Foy told reporters outside the theater after the group was removed.
A protester unfurls a ‘Stop All Deportations on Day One’ banner during the debate
Rev. Kirsten John Foy, along with Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, were removed from the Democratic debate after protesting the death of Eric Garner
Cory Booker and Joe Biden were interrupted by protesters during the debate
The protesters from New York were targeting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for not firing Daniel Pantaleo
‘Don’t sit there and say you want to create a more equitable society for everyone while back at home you’re allowing police officers to kill without any recourse or accountability,’ he added.
Foy works for the National Action Network, the civil rights group founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
‘We demand that Bill de Blasio act as a leader, behave as mayor and fire Daniel Pantaleo,’ he said.
He was joined in the protest by Mysonne Linen, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Angelo Pinto.
The group claimed they protested only during de Blasio’s opening statement. But shouts were heard when Cory Booker made his opening statement.
The protesters claim that was when the Detroit police arrived to remove them from the theater.
‘They interrupted Cory Booker,’ Foy claimed. ‘We made our statement and they decided minutes later they were going to come back and escort us out after we made our statement and were done and were ready to enjoy the rest of the debate.’
New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold in 2014
He declined to say how the group got tickets to the invitation-only event. Tickets were not available to the general public.
‘They came back and said if we didn’t leave, he would arrested,’ Linen said. ‘And we said “You can’t take him out. We’re here to enjoy the debate. We’re gonna stay and watch.” And they forcefully removed all of us.’
‘The Detroit Police department was called,’ Sarsour said. ‘So it wasn’t just security at the debate.’
Booker’s team tweeted praise for the protesters.
‘To the folks who were standing up to Mayor de Blasio a few minutes ago—good for you. That’s how change is made,’ tweeted his official account during the debate.
While de Blasio’s thanked the protesters via his Twitter account.
‘To the protestors in the audience today: I heard you. I saw you. I thank you. This is what democracy looks like and no one said it was pretty,’ his team wrote during the debate.
Garner’s death became an issue later in the debate when Julian Castro slammed Pantaleo for Garner’s death.
‘Officer Pantaleo used a chokehold did it for seven seconds and 11 different times Eric Garner said he couldn’t breathe,’ Castro said. ‘And he knew what he was doing and was killing Eric Gardner and yet he has not been brought to justice and he should be off the street.’
Sarsour, a longtime political activist who co-chaired the 2017 Women’s March, had praised Castro ‘and others who have excellent plans’ for Black Lives Matter.
‘The issue here is you can’t stand up there and talk to me about police reform when you have not been able to reform the largest city,’ she added. ‘We have had multiple shootings and we have a mayor who has not had the power to fire one police officer. He has not been able to even do that. So the fact that he thinks he can be the president of the United States is a mistake.’
Julian Castro went after Bill de Blasio for not doing enough for Eric Garner
Kirsten Gillibrand said she would have fired Officer Pantaleo immediately
But de Blasio said during the debate Garner family would get justice.
‘I know the Garner family has gone through extraordinary pain and are waiting for justice and are going to get justice. There is going to be justice and I have confidence in that. In the next 30 days in New York,’ the New York City mayor said.
He also slammed Biden for the Obama Justice Department not moving faster on the Garner case. The case was brought to Justice under Obama’s presidency but the decision not to pursue federal charges was made under Donald Trump’s presidency.
Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York, said Pantaleo should be fire immediately.
‘If I was the mayor I would fire him. But as president I would make sure that we have a full investigation and the report would be made public,’ she said.
The NYPD concluded a 24 day-long disciplinary hearing with Pantaleo on June 6, overseen by an administrative judge.
New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill is expected to announce soon whether Pantaleo keeps his job or is fired for Garner’s July 17, 2014 death.
Cell phone video shot by Garner’s friend, Ramsey Orta, showed Pantaleo taking Garner to the ground after he and another officer confronted him over suspicions he was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes outside a Staten Island convenience store
Eric Garner died after Pantaleo put him in a chokehold during a 2014 arrest. Garner was heard uttering, ‘I can’t breathe’ some 11 times before he lost consciousness
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill (left) will be making his announcement over Pantaleo’s future on Thursday. The timing is fortunate for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (right), who has been pressured by the Garner family to have Pantaleo fired.
Angelo Pinto, Linda Sarsour, and Tamika Mallory were removed from the theater for their protest
Rev. Kirsten John Foy and Mysonne Linen came from New York to protest de Blasio
Another protester was ejected from the debate for protesting deportations of immigrants
She stood up during the debate when immigration was the topic on stage
A source told DailyMail.com: ‘Nobody knows what O’Neill’s going to decide. The judge in the hearing was to give him a recommendation for disciplinary action.
‘But it is solely O’Neill’s decision what to do. If he fires Pantaleo, he’s going to have backlash from the cops.
‘If he doesn’t fire him, then he’s going to face backlash from the public. He’s boxed in.’
On July 16 this year, US Attorney General Bill Barr personally made the decision that the Justice Department would not bring civil rights charges against Pantaleo.
Furious relatives of Eric Garner urged de Blasio to still press for Pantaleo’s firing.
De Blasio deflected responsibility for the decision to Commissioner O’Neill, while criticizing the Justice Department under former President Barack Obama as well as Donald Trump for taking so long to investigate the death.
He said, ‘The mistake here was believing that the Justice Department was going to do its job. I’m not issuing an opinion because I respect that this process has to play out.
‘I feel very strongly as somebody who wants to be president that what leaders do is look at our legal system, look at what matters for making our institutions work for people and not because of political gain.
‘Being a leader takes a lot of restraint and being a leader takes a lot of patience.’
The department trial included never-before-heard testimony from other officers involved in Garner’s arrest and a medical examiner, who ruled that the chokehold set into motion ‘a lethal sequence of events.’
Cell phone video shot by Garner’s friend, Ramsey Orta, showed Pantaleo taking Garner to the ground after he and another officer confronted him over suspicions he was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes outside a Staten Island convenience store.
Around 100 protesters tried to approach Pantaleo’s residence on July 18 this year but they were cut off by dozens of NYPD officers
Garner’s daughter Emerald Snipes (above) had demanded de Blasio make sure officer Pantaleo was fired
Before Pantaleo grabbed him, Garner is seen on video arguing with the officers, protesting what he considered constant harassment.
On December 3, 2014, a grand jury found “no reasonable cause” to bring criminal charges against Pantaleo, triggering protests.
Then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said federal authorities would conduct a civil rights investigation.
This was concluded on July 16 this year with the Justice Department’s decision not to push for charges.
Pantaleo’s lawyer Stuart London said his client was grateful that federal prosecutors carefully reviewed the facts of the case rather than what he called the ‘lies and inaccuracies’ that beleaguered it.
The attorney said that a loss of life is ‘always a tragedy’ but maintained Pantaleo used techniques approved by the NYPD when he arrested Garner.
Garner uttered, ‘I can’t breathe’ some 11 times before he lost consciousness and later died.
The Black Lives Matter movement, highlighting deaths of black people by police officers, used the chant ‘I can’t breathe’ in its protests.
They also used, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ which reports claimed was uttered by Michael Brown Jr. when he was shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014.
On July 18 this year, a crowd of 100 activists went to confront Pantoleo in the quiet Staten Island subdivision where he lives.
They were greeted by NYPD cops, some wielding riot shields, in heavy downpours.
‘He needs to be scared everywhere that he go! We will find you, Pantaleo!’ the demonstrators chanted as they marched through the neighborhood.
In this undated family file photo provided by the National Action Network, Eric Garner, right, poses with his children during a family outing
Pantaleo’s union, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), had blamed Garner’s poor health and resisting arrest for his death.
Garner, a married father of six, weighed 395 lbs at the time of death and suffered from asthma, diabetes and had a heart nearly double the size of a person in good health, a medical examiner said.
The head of the PBA Patrick Lynch called Garner’s death an ‘undeniable tragedy’ but that Pantaleo ‘did not cause it’.
Lynch released a statement saying the officer was just doing his job ‘in the manner he was taught’. He said turning a ‘good and honorable officer’ into a scapegoat will not ‘heal the wounds’ the case has caused for the ‘entire city’.