By Frederick H. Lowe
Federal prosecutors have recommended that Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City cop, who used an illegal chokehold to murder Eric Garner as he screamed “I can’t breathe,” should face charges, according to several news reports.
The recommendation to indict Pantaleo has reached the desk of Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who has met with top Department of Justice officials to determine whether a criminal case against the officer can be won, The New York Times reported Friday.
Although Garner’s death was captured on video, a New York grand jury acquitted Pantaleo of all charges in Garner’s death. Pantaleo has a history of brutalizing black men. He remains on the job.
Chokeholds were banned by New York City Police Department in 1993, but they weren’t illegal under New York City law.
In 2015, New York City agreed to pay Garner’s family $5.9 million for his brutal death at the hands of police. Family members said, however, they would continue to seek to have Pantaleo arrested and charged.
Pantaleo arrested and killed Garner, 43, on July 17, 2014 for allegedly selling loose or untaxed cigarettes. Kizzy Adonis, a black New York City Police sergeant who stood by and did nothing as Pantaleo choked Garner to death was stripped of her badge and gun because she did not intervene to stop his brutal death, an internal police investigation found.
Garner’s death sparked demonstrations throughout the country with NBA players, including Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, wearing “I can’t breathe” on their warm up jerseys in sympathy with Garner.