The de Blasio administration is stopping the NYPD’s civilian watchdog from prosecuting the cop who the medical examiner said put arrestee Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold more than three years ago, Garner’s mother said Thursday.
Gwen Carr disputed claims from the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio that a pending U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the Garner case precludes the city from conducting internal discipline.
She and her supporters highlighted past cases where cops were punished before the conclusion of external probes.
“They are holding back. They are procrastinating. We must tell them, they must stop procrastinating. They’re saying they have to wait on the D.O.J. That’s not true,” Carr said outside City Hall. “We’re tired. We’ve been waiting for almost four years. Waiting time is over.”
Last year, the NYPD’s watchdog, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, concluded that Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo used a banned chokehold and restricted Garner’s breathing during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island, according to published reports.
But the NYPD and de Blasio’s office have said they are heeding the request of the Justice Department to delay any internal proceedings until after the pending federal probe is done. The Justice Department has not confirmed the request publicly.
De Blasio’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Pantaleo remains on the force.
Garner’s death in July 2014, captured on video by a bystander — and his dying words, “I can’t breathe” — became an early impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to highlight what its leaders consider inequitable and abusive policing of minorities.
One of the cases activists from the group Communities United for Police Reform cited Thursday involved Francis X. Livoti, who was convicted in federal court in the death of Anthony Baez in the Bronx. Livoti put Baez in a chokehold after a football Baez was playing with hit Livoti’s car in 1994.
In the Livoti case, the NYPD proceeded with an internal case in 1996, and moved to fire him in 1997, after he was acquitted of state charges but before any federal case was brought.