The New York Police Department was reportedly hunkered down and prepared for riots on Thursday, as the decision was to be announced as to whether Daniel Pantaleo, the officer involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner, would be fired from his job.
According to The Daily Mail, “A police source said NYPD headquarters phoned borough commands this morning to prepare for the announcement, not wanting to issue a written directive for fear it would leak out. Hundreds of cops will be mobilized and stationed at various places, including in Staten Island, the New York borough where the fatal take down of Eric Garner occurred.”
A police source told The Daily Mail, “The borough commands have been notified to schedule personnel in anticipation of a Pantaleo decision on Thursday. The call came from headquarters to the borough commands this morning. They’re putting plans in place. We may end up with all kinds of protests.” The source continued, “Nobody knows what (New York Police Commissioner James) 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.”
Garner’s relatives have urged New York mayor Bill de Blasio to support the firing of Pantaleo. De Blasio has 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.”
Garner was married with six children. He weighed 395 lbs at the time of his death. The Daily Wire explained the circumstances of his death:
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was allegedly selling loose cigarettes from untaxed packs outside a store in New York City. Police had apparently told him not to do this several times, and after talking with Garner, attempted to arrest him. Garner told the officers he was not selling loose cigarettes and that he was tired of police hassling him.
Garner resisted arrest by putting his hands up, and one officer, Daniel Pantaleo, reached his arm around Garner’s neck to bring him to the ground. Pantaleo then pushed the side of Garner’s face into the ground as four other officers restrained him. Throughout the arrest, Garner, who is asthmatic, repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” He lost consciousness and police turned him on his side. When paramedics arrived, they didn’t perform CPR because they thought he was still breathing.
Garner died about an hour later. Police said he had a heart attack in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
There was some debate into whether Pantaleo placed Garner in a chokehold, which is prohibited by the New York Police Department. An initial report from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau determined the office did not use a chokehold, but New York City Medical Examiner Dr. Floriana Persechino ruled Garner’s death was a homicide (but not necessarily intentional) resulting from the chokehold, which led to an asthma attack and other health problems. An independent autopsy found hemorrhaging around Garner’s neck and the Internal Affairs eventually ruled that Pantaleo did, in fact, use a chokehold. Disciplinary charges were recommended, but none were filed.