Officer Daniel Pantaleo was the white officer that placed the chokehold on Eric Garner that resulted in his death. Eric Garner was suspected of selling loose cigarettes near the entrance to the Staten Island ferry earlier this year. The coroner had ruled Mr. Garner’s death a homicide and was caused by the chokehold along with chest compression he received while struggling during attempts by the police to put handcuffs on him.
Today a grand jury refused to indict Officer Pantleo on any charges for Mr. Garner’s death. From looking at the video you can tell that Mr. Garner, while not aggressively fighting the police, he was resisting arrest. However, I’m not sure that Mr. Garner had done anything that he should have been arrested for in the first place so it’s very easy to see his frustration leading to the type of resistance he was exhibiting. While I wouldn’t call this murder I certainly could see a charge of negligent homicide or whatever equivalent charge would be appropriate in New York.
Why? He put him in a chokehold.
The case exposed apparent lapses in police tactics – chokeholds are banned by the Police Department’s own guidelines – and raised questions about the aggressive policing of minor offenses in a time of historically low crime. The officers involved, part of a plainclothes unit, suspected Mr. Garner of selling loose cigarettes on the street near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a complaint among local business owners.
Yes, Mr. Garner was a large man and probably pretty powerful. But as the quote says, chokeholds are banned by the police department’s own guidelines. There was negligence, at least, involved in Mr. Garner’s death.