Ex-NYPD cop fired over death of Eric Garner sues commissioner to be rehired

Eric Garner
People participate in a protest to mark the five year anniversary of the death of Eric Garner during a confrontation with a police officer in the borough of Staten Island on July 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The ex NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold is now suing to get his job back just two months after being fired by Commissioner James O’Neill.

In August Daniel Pantaleo was fired over the 2014 death of Garner, and according to The New York Post, Wednesday he filed a suit in Manhattan civil court naming both the NYPD and O’Neill as defendants.

READ MORE: NYPD Commissioner fires Officer Daniel Pantaleo involved in 2014 Eric Garner death

Prior to being let go, the 13-year police veteran was earning $85,292 per year and now his legal team is arguing that his termination was “arbitrary and capricious.”

The rules of his termination, allowed Pantaleo to receive the money he’d already paid into his pension while he was employed with the NYPD but it was decided he would receive no further compensation beyond that. If he wins this case, he would not only be reinstated to the force but also be paid damages for his lost wages.

His attorney Stuart London told The New York Post that the decision to fire his client was “reckless,” but civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton immediately countered back with an official statement through the National Action Network saying, “Daniel Pantaleo had a fair administrative trial that concluded with an NYPD Judge recommending he be fired immediately. Pantaleo’s decision to seek his reinstatement is not only disrespectful to the Police Commissioner and NYPD, but also the Garner family.”

READ MORE: Mother of Eric Garner writes powerful essay after decline to prosecute police officer who killed him

Pantaleo was recommended for termination after NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado found that he used a banned chokehold on Garner, 43, in the July 17, 2014 incident that started when police confronted him about selling loose cigarettes in a neighborhood in New York’s Staten Island borough.

A city medical examiner determined that the chokehold triggered Garner’s death although asthma, heart disease and obesity were also cited as contributors. Despite the finding, a Richmond County, N.Y., grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo, thus he was never criminally prosecuted.

“He has shown no contrition or acknowledgment of his violent actions that ultimately killed Eric Garner,” Sharpton continued. “If Pantaleo’s case goes to trial, the National Action Network, Black clergy members, and civil rights leaders will pack the courts while wearing neck braces to show solidarity in our fight for justice for the Garner family and victims of police brutality. And if Pantaleo wins this lawsuit, he will continue to pose a threat to all Black and Brown people in New York City.”