Black Female NYPD Sergeant Faces Departmental Charges in Eric Garner’s Death

Sgt. Kizzy Adonis was one of the two supervising officers on the scene at the time of Garner's arrest.

A Black female NYPD sergeant has been stripped of her gun and badge due to her involvement in the summer 2014 death of Staten Island father Eric Garner.

The New York Times reports that Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, one of two supervisors who were on the scene at the time of Garner’s arrest, faces departmental charges. On Friday, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton announced that Adonis, who was promoted one month before Garner’s death, would be prohibited from community patrolling, stripped of her gun and badge and has been placed on modified duty. She is the first officer reprimanded for Garner’s death.

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At a press conference last week, Edward Mullins, the president of the NYPD sergeants’ union, expressed outrage at the charges, adding that Adonis has an “unblemished record.”

“Commissioner Bratton bears the full responsibility for what occurred on Staten Island in the Garner case,” Mullins said. “He was the commissioner in charge of a policy—a failed policy—that should never have been. And that policy being the enforcement of untaxed cigarettes. And if anyone should be put on modified assignment, it should be him.” 

Rev. Al Sharpton told the New York Daily News that though the departmental charges against Adonis is a step in the right direction, there is more that needs to be done.

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“This is a good sign, but it’s certainly not all we want,” Sharpton said. “I think all the officers that were there need to be brought up on charges once the federal investigation is over…She and everyone involved had a responsibility to stop it.” 

Garner died in July 2014 after six officers approached him for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in an illegal chokehold, ignoring Garner’s cries that he couldn’t breathe. Garner was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died. Last year, a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo for his death. There is currently a federal investigation underway. 

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