A New York judge on Friday recommended that NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the police force for his role in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner. A few hours after the judge’s recommendation, Pantaleo was suspended from the NYPD, according to Buzzfeed News.

Now New York City’s Police Commissioner James O’Neill must make the decision to fire Pantaleo or not, NBC reports.

“This has been a long battle. Five years too long. And finally, someone has said this cop has done something wrong,” Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner Snipes, said at a press conference following news of Trials Commissioner Rosemary Maldonado’s recommendation.

Earlier this month, ESSENCE reported that federal prosecutors announced on the eve of the 5-year marker of Garner’s death, that there was not enough evidence to prove that Pantaleo violated Garner’s civil rights on July 17, 2014, when he put the 43-year-old father in a chokehold which, ultimately, proved fatal. 

Attorney General William Barr, a Trump-appointee, made the final decision.

“As you all can I tell, I’m very angry,” Emerald Snipes said after the Department of Justice’s decision not to hold Pantaleo accountable. “I’m very angry. I stand here in the spirit of my sister, who fought for justice until her dying day for my father. Standing outside protesting. She called the Civilian Complaints Review Board (CCRB) meetings and they didn’t do their job. She called the Department of Justice, and they didn’t do their job.”

Snipes continued with conviction: “So, no, I’m going to stand outside and I’m going to scream it. Daniel Pantaleo needs to be fired. He needs to be fired … five years later and there’s still no justice. There is no waiting. There is no nothing. So, no, there won’t be no calm. So, no, there won’t be no peace. No justice, no peace. … Don’t apologize to me, fire the officer.”

Debate Night Shake-Up

Earlier this week, during the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night in Detroit, Michigan, which featured NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, protesters chanted “Fire Pantaleo!” before they were removed from the venue.

In response, de Blasio said that the Garner family would receive justice within 30 days.

The Struggle Continues

In a statement issued after Maldonado recommended that Pantaleo be fired, Carmen Perez, President and CEO of The Gathering for Justice, and #ICantBreathe Campaign Organizer, said the fight is not over.

“For five exhausting years since Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold, The Gathering for Justice and Justice League NYC have stood by Eric’s family in demanding that the officer responsible be held accountable,” Perez said in a statement. 

“Make no mistake: today is a small step towards accountability for the NYPD,” Perez continued, “but there will be no justice for the Garner family until Police Commissioner James O’Neill follows through on this recommendation.”   


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