UPDATE: Just a day after the Justice Department decided to replace the entire New York investigation team overseeing the Eric Garner case, they made another decision today in the case that changes everything.
It has been announced that Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD police officer who placed Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold, has been officially charged for his death. The New York Post has the full details of this latest development.
Via New York Post:
Washington-based federal prosecutors plan to aggressively pursue charges against NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, a law enforcement source told The Post. “It’s going to happen sooner than later,” the source said of an indictment. “Washington wants to indict him.”
Federal investigators in Brooklyn were replaced by DC counterparts because of their reluctance to bring charges, the source said.
The New York feds are privately seething. They accused their Beltway colleagues of trying to “make an example out of Pantaleo” at any cost, said one source familiar with the case. “We already … came to a conclusion which they didn’t like. It’s truly disgraceful what they’re doing,” the source said.
After years of disappointments in the quest for justice for Eric Garner, the unarmed Black man who died after being placed in an illegal chokehold by the NYPD in 2104, the U.S. Justice Department just took a step in the right direction by replacing the entire team investigating the case.
According to a report from The New York Times, the move is “highly unusual,” but could increase the likelihood that justice may actually be possible in the case, which prompted protests across the country.
From the Times:
Federal authorities have been investigating whether officers violated Mr. Garner’s civil rights in his fatal encounter with the police. But the case had been slowed by a dispute because federal prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in New York opposed bringing charges, while prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department in Washington argued there was clear evidence to do so.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who as the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York oversaw the beginning of the federal inquiry before her appointment to Washington, has been considering for months how to proceed.
The sources spoke with the Times on condition of anonymity.
The officer seen putting Garner in the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, was simply placed on desk duty, where he remains.
While this news is definitely promising, there is a long road ahead for this investigation. Hopefully it will be resolved in a manner that gives his family and friends final closure and peace.