Monday, New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill finally fired Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the incident that caused the death of Eric Garner, but within two days of being formally let go, a GoFundMe to support him has already raised upwards of $100,000.
“Support NYC Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and his family,” implores the GoFundMe’s organizer. “Mayor de Blasio’s anti-police rhetoric contributed toward the decision to fire him. Let’s help an officer in need who was only doing his job! It’s the least we can do for a brother in blue with a newborn and bills to pay!”
New York City Public Defender Rebecca J. Kavanagh took to Twitter on Tuesday to bring the public’s attention to the fundraiser. At the time of her post, the page had raised over $60,000 in its first 24 hours. But Kavanagh couldn’t help noting the blatantly racist comments donors – many of whom identify as law enforcement – were making.
“Even more problematic than the amount of $ raised – comments by the people donating, some of whom self-identify as cops,” she writes. “Not surprising given that the Plain View Project found 1 in 5 current & 2 in 5 retired cops had posted racist comments on Facebook.”
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Commissioner O’Neil agreed with the Deputy Commissioner of Trials legal findings and recommended that Pantaleo no longer needed to serve as an officer in New York City.
“From day one, we said that there was going to be a fair and impartial trial. This is the result. Make no mistake about it, this is a tragedy for the Garner family. I fully understand that. Mr. Garner was somebody’s son, somebody’s dad. Everybody in the NYPD understands that,” he explained.
But given that so many officers have literally put their money where their mouth is in support of Pantaleo, the community can’t help but feel uneasy about the message that sends. As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised $103,000, exceeding his $97,000 annual salary. The comments section for the page was also disabled after it was revealed the public was watching.
Even more problematic than the amount of $ raised – comments by the people donating, some of whom self-identify as cops.
Not surprising given that the Plain View Project found 1 in 5 current & 2 in 5 retired cops had posted racist comments on Facebook. https://t.co/YO9JbM1XjY
— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) August 20, 2019