The NYPD officer caught on video putting a chokehold on a Staten Island man has been stripped of his gun and badge following the public outcry and pending investigation.
On Saturday, authorities confirmed Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an 8-year veteran, had been placed on “modified assignment,” pending the outcome of the dual probes by the district attorney and Internal Affairs. Just a day earlier, the cop and his partner were said to be on “desk duty,” but were still in possession of their guns and shields.
Eric Garner, who stood at 6-foot-3 and weighed approximately 350 pounds, died Thursday afternoon as police struggled to arrest him. Officers accused him of selling loose cigarettes to residents in his Staten Island neighborhood. Garner was known for selling the individual cigarettes to children in the past, which police considered to be a “quality of life” issue.
The video of Garner being tackled by several officers and put in a chokehold eventually went viral after being released by the New York Daily News. He could be seen arguing with cops over his alleged sale and asking them to leave him alone.
As he was wrestled to the ground, Garner was heard yelling that he couldn’t breathe while being placed in a chokehold, which is prohibited by NYPD departmental policy. Police said he appeared to suffer a heart attack.
Garner is survived by his wife, six children and two grandchildren.
Mayor Bill De Blasio delayed his planned Italian vacation for a day after receiving word of the incident. He’s called the video of the arrest “very troubling” and said NYPD internal affairs and the local district attorney were investigating the incident.
ABC News questioned Policeman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch about what constitutes an appropriate use of force and he’s urged the public to not rush to judgement.
“At times, when officers are required to make an arrest, they must employ the use of force in order to get compliance from an individual who NYPD policy requires must be rear-cuffed for transport to a precinct,” Lynch said. “Force, by its very nature, is an ugly thing to witness. Taken out of the context of what is happening, necessary force can be misinterpreted to be excessive by those who are not trained in law enforcement procedures.”
Photo courtesy of Andrew Burton/Getty Images