It’s been one year since NYPD officers tackled and placed an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner, leading to the man’s death, and the officer who applied the lethal maneuver is still on a desk assignment waiting to get back on the the streets, the New York Daily News reports.
Daniel Pantaleo, 30, who leaped onto Garner’s back and placed his forearm around the struggling man’s throat, has received so many death threats that his Staten Island home is still guarded by around the clock by fellow police officers.
Garner was involved in an altercation with New York City police July 16 last year after one officer claimed he was selling cigarettes illegally. A struggle ensued resulting in Garner’s death and leading to massive protests in New York and across the country as part of #BlackLivesMatter.
A New York City medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide, the result of Pantaleo’s chokehold and “the compression of [Garner’s] chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”
Despite the homicide determination a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict Pantaleo in Garner’s death leaving the deceased man’s family furious.
“There’s no justice because Eric is not here. He can’t get justice,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr said. “The only thing I can get is closure for him.”
For Panataleo — who still faces possible federal civil rights charges — the incident with Garner was not the first time he was involved in a arrest with racial implications.
Darren Collins, 47, and Tommy Rice, 44, won a $30,000 settlement after charging that Pantaleo strip-searched them in public and slapped their testicles during a 2012 Staten Island traffic stop.
According to Panataleo’s attorney, Stuart London, his client is a good cop who has no intention of leaving the force.
“The unbelievable part is this has not soured him one bit on doing law enforcement,” London told the Daily News. “It hasn’t diminished his desire to help the citizens of this city.”
As for federal charges that still may be filed, London said the feds don’t have a case.
“They have to prove my client had a specific intent to deprive Eric Garner of a federally protected constitutional right,” London said. “Based on all the pertinent information I have, they don’t reach that threshold in this case.”
In the meantime, neighbors of Pantaleo say the desk-bound cop keeps a low profile in his neighborhood.
“He’s like a shadow,” said an elderly man who lives next door. “He’s in and out.”