The NYPD says it's finally ready to begin disciplinary hearings for the officers involved in Eric Garner's death. The proceedings—against Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner in an illegal chokehold, and Sergeant Kizzy Adonis, who supervised the arrest—will begin in the coming days, officials said on Thursday.
Earlier this week, on the fourth anniversary of Garner's death, the NYPD claimed that they'd given the Department of Justice a deadline to finish the federal probe, which the city has long cited as the obstacle to opening their own internal investigation. But a spokesperson for the DOJ told Gothamist on Monday that the NYPD has had the green light to move forward with a disciplinary trial for months now, and police reform experts note that it makes little sense to use a stalled federal investigation as an excuse not to prosecute those responsible for Garner's death.
On Thursday, Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, excoriated the city for the delay, and for failing to charge all of the officers who participated in the arrest. "The de Blasio administration should never have waited for 4 years or until September because the idea that NYPD couldn't have acted before DOJ has always been a lie," Carr said in a statement. "We exposed that September was an artificial timeline this week and it's unacceptable that the NYPD is saying that only two officers will face discipline charges when many more were involved in murdering my son, trying to cover it up and other related misconduct."
"It's past time for de Blasio and the NYPD to stop playing games with my son's death," she added.
Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, asks why it's taken the Department of Justice four years to conduct an investigation into his killing by NYPD officers: "The whole world's seen what happened to my son… What else do they need?" https://t.co/2spSB71VF8 pic.twitter.com/9ewkNTesQa
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) July 19, 2018
A spokesperson for the Mayor's Office has declined to speak on the record about what's changed, and why the city waited exactly four years to push for this hearing.
Pantaleo is expected to be prosecuted by the Administrative Prosecution Unit of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which will ultimately make a recommendation to Police Commissioner James O'Neill. The board determined last year that Pantaleo should face department charges for his use of an illegal chokehold. He has been on desk duty since the incident, though he's managed to secure at least one raise, and is reportedly making around $120,000 a year.
The internal NYPD hearing is not a criminal trial, and thus will not result in criminal charges being brought against Pantaleo. At worst, he could end up losing his job.