Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a deadly chokehold in 2014, is reportedly hoping that a Trump administration will stop the federal investigation of his case.
In October, the Justice Department replaced local investigators and began working to determine if a case could be made that Pantaleo violated Garner's civil rights. One law enforcement source told the Daily News that the Justice Department would likely seek to indict Pantaleo by the end of the year, before President Obama leaves office.
An attorney for Pantaleo told the New York Times last month that, "if it is true that the Justice Department is rejecting the recommendations of seasoned FBI agents and assistant United States attorneys, this is a gross miscarriage of justice. In our system of justice, politics should never take the place of rule of law."
But Stuart London, the attorney representing Pantaleo on behalf of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, has told the Post that his client is "cautiously optimistic" that Trump will reverse Attorney General Loretta Lynch's decision to assign new prosecutors to the case.
"I discussed the election results with him and he is cautiously optimistic. I am cautiously optimistic that, under the new administration, that the recommendations of the Eastern District that there is no civil rights case would be accepted by Justice, and that Pantaleo can then move forward with his life," London said.
On Friday, Representative Pete King told the Post that the renewed investigation is a "terrible injustice."
"He was exonerated by a Staten Island grand jury and the Eastern District of New York, which is a very tough district," King said. "Whatever this was, it was not racial. He was ordered to stop people from selling loose cigarettes after business owners complained by [former] Chief [of Department] Banks, the highest ranked African-American officer in the department. It was a tragic incident, but it wasn't racial."
King added that he would "fully support" Trump if he halted the investigation.
Garner's death was ruled a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner, who determined that the death was caused by "compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police." Chokeholds are prohibited by the NYPD, but Pantaleo says he did not intend to put Garner in a chokehold.
A federal grand jury was convened in Brooklyn in February and began hearing evidence but they have not been put to a vote. In July 2015, Garner's family agreed to a $5.9 million settlement offer from the city, which Sergeants Benevolent Association head Ed Mullins called "obscene."
Rudy Giuliani, whose mayoral administration led to the rise of stop and frisk in New York City, is on the shortlist of names being considered by Trump for Attorney General. On Thursday, he said on CNN's New Day that "there's probably nobody that knows the Justice Department better than me," but refused to say whether he would accept the job. According to the Wall Street Journal, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is also being considered for the position.