The Justice Department announced Tuesday that they’re not filing criminal civil rights charges against the NYPD officer who was reportedly seen placing Eric Garner in a chokehold before his 2014 death.
Daniel Pantaleo, 34, has reportedly been on desk duty since he was filmed putting his arms around Garner’s neck and chest in an apparent chokehold. While a medical examiner testified at a disciplinary hearing that the maneuver Pantaleo used caused Garner’s fatal asthma attack, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said “the evidence does not support charging Police Officer Pantaleo with a federal civil rights violation,” according to The New York Times.
"We're not going away," Eric Garner's mother says following DOJ decision.
"You think it's swept under the rug? No! It's not going to be swept under the rug. Because, I'm out here. You all know my face. You're going to see it even more now." https://t.co/aLS5pDb9Y1 pic.twitter.com/SBu7TyVl2L
— ABC News (@ABC) July 16, 2019
Multiple reports stated that authorities posthumously charged Garner, 43, for selling untaxed cigarettes and resisting arrest. A year after his death, New York City agreed to settle with Garner’s family for $5.9 million.
Tuesday’s announcement comes a day before the fifth anniversary of Garner’s death. A senior Justice Department official told CNN that Attorney General William Barr ultimately made the decision not to prosecute, siding with New York’s Justice Department division and opposing the Civil Rights Division in Washington’s findings.
The senior official claimed Barr considered concerns that prosecutors wouldn’t be able to provide that Pantaleo willfully acted during Garner’s arrest.
“This is the highest standard of intent imposed by law,” Donoghue said, according to the network. “While willfulness may be inferred from blatantly wrongful conduct such as a gratuitous hit to the head, an officer’s mistake, fear, misperception or even poor judgment does not constitute willful conduct under federal criminal civil rights law.”
Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, expressed disgust and anger at the recent announcement, vowing to continue to seek justice for her son.
“You think it’s swept under the rug? No! It’s not going to be swept under the rug. Because, I’m out here,” she told reporters Tuesday, according to ABC News. “You all know my face. You’re going to see it even more now.”
[Featured image: Eric Garner/Twitter]