City Councilmember Calls For Pantaleo's Dismissal As Other Officials Denounce Decision Not To Indict

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Eric Garner

Several elected officials and activists reacted with outrage to the decision by the grand jury on Staten Island not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, whose strangulation death of unarmed Eric Gardner on July 17 was captured on a videorecording viewed around the world. A City Council Member calls for the dismissal of Pantaleo from the NYPD.

Gardner had allegedly been selling loose cigarettes when he was placed on the violent chokehold by the NYPD officer.

"There are no words to adequately describe how I feel tonight, but I've been vacillating between numbness and abject anger," said New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and co-chair of the Council's Taskforce to Combat Gun Violence. "People keep telling us to 'stay calm'and 'keep the peace,' but where is justice and accountability for this life lost? The video is there; but video or not, there is always a reason why its ok that unarmed Black and Brown people are killed by law enforcement. Dan Donovan and Staten Island's grand jury failed, but the Mayor and Commissioner cannot fail. Department protocol was violated and another unarmed man is dead. Officer Pantaleo must be held accountable for killing Eric Garner and he must be fired immediately."

Williams added: "But instead of getting accountability, New York City has continued its annual tradition of lighting the tree at Rockefeller Center, a moment meant for celebration. There's nothing to celebrate tonight. Never have I thought more that black lives don't matter. In 2014 it is generally accepted that calling someone 'nigger', or 'spade' or 'boy' publicly is politically incorrect. But if we're still being treated that way and are being killed with impunity on video, how impactful is that change?"

The "refusal by a NYC grand jury to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Panatelo for choking Eric Garner to death once again highlights the inability of local prosecutors to hold officers fully accountable for senseless violence perpetrated against Black and brown folks and underscores the need for Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to intervene and set a higher standard of policing," said Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of  “The total lack of accountability for police officers responsible for Eric Garner's death is completely unacceptable. Just one week after Mike Brown’s killer, Officer Darren Wilson, was shielded from justice by a St. Louis prosecutor. It’s an outrage and sends the devastating message that police are above the law and that they will not be held accountable for unjustly taking the life of Black folks. Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan should hold his head in shame."

Robinson added: “Officer Daniel Pantaleo was caught on camera choking Garner to death, but even when video is involved, the wheels of justice don't seem to move when Black people are injured or killed by police.

“Our deepest condolences are with Eric Garner's family, his wife, and six children, who will have to spend the holiday season without their loved one. ColorOfChange is prepared to continue to organize alongside them, and so many other families that have been torn apart by police violence and grow a nationwide movement against the crisis of violent policing and a criminal justice system that fails Black folks every day.

“More than 43,000 ColorOfChange members raised their voices and demanded justice for Eric Garner and an end to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s Broken Windows policing tactic that encourages the hyper enforcement of low-level nonviolent offense. We will not sit silently as Black folks like Eric Garner are profiled, targeted, and killed by police and their killers are shielded by local prosecutors and allowed to get away with murder.”



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