As was widely reported, Garner, 43, died in 2014 on a Staten Island street corner, where two police officers confronted him and accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes. One of the officers, Pantaleo, was seen on a video using a chokehold, prohibited by the New York Police Department, to subdue him. Mr. Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for protesters around the country.
“It’s going to happen sooner than later,” the source told the NY Post of an expected indictment. “Washington wants to indict him.”
According to the NY Times, Stuart London, a lawyer for Officer Pantaleo, said that he had maintained he never violated anyone’s civil rights. “This was always a simple street encounter where Officer Pantaleo utilized his N.Y.P.D. training to subdue an individual,” Mr. London said.
“If it is true that the Justice Department is rejecting the recommendations of seasoned F.B.I. agents and assistant United States attorneys, this is a gross miscarriage of justice. In our system of justice, politics should never take the place of the rule of law.”
The story goes that 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 are taking the action too well. They accused their DC 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 told the Post.
The Times story also point out that for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, the slow pace of the investigation has allowed the Garner case to linger, a reminder of a flash point during his tenure and a sign of his struggle to balance his pledge to champion criminal justice reform with the practical realities of overseeing the country’s largest local police force.
Read/learn MORE at NY Times.