Justice for Eric Garner

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was killed on a Staten Island sidewalk after being placed in an NYPD-banned chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, during a false and illegal arrest while Eric pleaded "I can't breathe" eleven times. The killing, captured on video, showed many officers who used force in the unlawful arrest and many failed to intervene or provide aid. NYPD officials and officers also attempted to cover up the killing, first claiming that Garner died of a heart attack, illegally leaking sealed records to criminalize Mr. Garner, and lying on official reports. 

In August 2019, after five long years of obstruction and refusal by Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD to take action, and tireless organizing by Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, Ellisha Flagg Garner, Garner's sister, the Garner family, and community organizers, Officer Daniel Pantaleo, was finally fired. His firing followed a CCRB prosecuted disciplinary trial that concluded in June 2019 which found that Officer Pantaleo violated Department procedures such as the decades-long ban on the chokehold maneuver.

In August 2019, Eric Garner's mother, sister, and Ramarley Graham's mother, along with CPR members, announced a petition to the New York Supreme Court. The petition demanded a judicial inquiry into the violations and neglect of duty by Mayor Bill de Blasio, his administration, and others related to the unjust killing of Eric Garner, the cover-up that continues to this day, and the corresponding failure to discipline officers for misconduct in a meaningful or timely manner.

Mayor de Blasio responded to petitioners by filing a motion to dismiss the petition. New York State Supreme Court Judge Joan A. Madden heard arguments in the city's motion to dismiss in August 2020. 

On September 24, 2020, six years after the killing of Eric Garner, Justice  Madden ruled in petitioners’ favor in their request for a judicial inquiry. The judge ruled that a public judicial inquiry into potential violations and neglect of duty by the de Blasio administration, including former NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill, and other top police officials arising from the death of Eric Garner, could proceed.

Unhappy with the court’s decision, the City tried to block the petition by filing a notice of appeal and by attempting to argue that there was an automatic stay to all further proceedings before the Supreme Court while the City’s appeal was pending. In December 2020, Justice Madden rejected the City’s arguments, once again allowing proceedings related to the inquiry to move forward, unless the City won a stay from an appeals court.  

On February 12, 2021, the City filed a motion with the Appellate Division, First Department, the appeals court, seeking to stay the judicial inquiry. On March 23, 2021, the First Department denied this request. The First Department heard the appeal on May 25, 2021, and denied the appeal on July 15, 2021.

Following Justice Madden’s retirement from the bench, Justice Erika M. Edwards was assigned to preside over the case.

In addition to the petition brought under Section 1109, the Gwen Carr, the Justice Committee, and Communities United for Police Reform submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the NYPD and the Civilian Complaint Review Board relating to Mr. Garner’s arrest and killing, 

In October 2021, the judicial inquiry began in New York State Supreme Court on October 25, 2021, and lasted for approximately two weeks, until November 5, 2021.

During the inquiry, we learned that NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick, who was in charge of the investigation of the killing, did not investigate illegal leaks of Eric Garner’s medical or sealed criminal legal records. Officer Justin Damico lied on official NYPD reports and Lt. Christopher Bannon texted it was “not a big deal” that Eric might be DOA (dead on arrival).

Parties to the petition include Gwen Carr, Ellisha Flagg Garner, Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, Loyda Colon of Justice Committee, Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform, Monifa Bandele of MomsRising, Kesi Foster of Make the Road, and Mark Winston Griffith of Brooklyn Movement Center. They were represented by Alvin Bragg, Gideon Oliver, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.

Help uplift the demands of Eric Garner’s family:

  • That ALL NYPD officers and officials who engaged in misconduct related to the killing of Eric Garner be held accountable and fired from the NYPD.
  • For full access to ALL NYPD and CCRB records of the case.

News on Eric Garner

Police Accountability Advocates Slam PBA for Misleading Interpretation of Legal Ruling This Week that Allows the Trial of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo to Proceed

New York –  Today, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) slammed the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) for their misleading interpretation of NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado's ruling on their last-minute motion to dismiss or narrow charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the disciplinary trial, set to begin on Monday, May 13, 2019.

“These Stunts Are Harming My Family and the City”: In Forceful Statement, Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s Mother, Condemns Daniel Pantaleo’s Lawyers for Trying to Block His Upcoming Trial, and Help Him Avoid Accountability for Killing Garner

New York, NY – Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, released the statement below after today's NYPD hearing ahead of the upcoming disciplinary trial of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner. 

At the hearing earlier today, Pantaleo’s police union attorneys engaged in another round of desperate stunts to try to delay the trial, help Pantaleo avoid accountability for his role in Garner’s death, and to attempt to set harmful precedents seeking to limit discipline against NYPD officers. Ms. Carr fired back at these last-minute legal maneuvers in a statement.

“I’m outraged, and I’m in pain. My family and I have been fighting for nearly five years to get any justice or accountability for Eric’s death. It’s time for Pat Lynch, Daniel Pantaleo’s police union lawyers, and the PBA to stop playing games and using dirty tricks to try to delay the upcoming trial where Pantaleo must be held accountable for killing my son Eric,” said Ms. Carr.

At City Hall Thursday, Police Reform Groups, Jumaane Williams, Elected Officials, and Families Impacted by Police Violence Called for Passage of the Safer NY Act and Repeal of 50-a, New York’s Harmful Police Secrecy Law

New York, NY — Today, at City Hall, police reform groups, elected officials, and families impacted by police violence held a press conference and rally calling on the state legislature and Governor Cuomo to pass the Safer NY Act and repeal 50-a, New York’s harmful police secrecy law. 

The Safer NY Act is a package of state bills that would ensure criminal justice reform also increases police transparency and accountability, and enhances public safety in communities across New York.  

Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s Mother, Reacts to Today’s Disciplinary Hearing for NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s Upcoming Prosecution

New York, NY – Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, released the statement below about today’s NYPD disciplinary hearing for the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB)’s upcoming prosecution of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner. It was the second hearing of its kind that has been held in recent months on Pantaleo's role in Garner's death.

Families of Eric Garner and Delrawn Small Slam Mayor de Blasio’s Press Secretary for Racist Comments About “Fringe Activists” Criticizing the NYPD, and Demand Immediate Apology Today

Today, the families of Eric Garner and Delrawn Small slammed Mayor de Blasio’s press secretary Eric Phillips for his racist comments that critics of the NYPD are "fringe activists." Phillips first made the comments to Politico New York earlier today and, since then, he doubled down on them on Twitter.

Justice for Eric Garner: At City Hall, Gwen Carr, Police Reform Advocates, and Elected Officials Call for the Firing of All NYPD Officers Involved in Garner’s Death

New York, NY – Today, at City Hall, Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, joined police reform advocates and elected officials to call for the firing of all NYPD officers involved in the killing of Garner in 2014. They gathered for a press conference to mark the fourth anniversary of no indictment for NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death.

Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner, Responds to News that NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo Will Face Disciplinary Hearing

New York, NY – Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, released the following statement today responding to news reports that NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo will face a disciplinary hearing in December for his use of a banned chokehold that killed her son in July 2014. The hearing may result in an NYPD disciplinary trial being scheduled for a later date. 

Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner, Responds to the CCRB Filing for the Unsealing of Grand Jury Minutes as Part of Their Disciplinary Case Against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo

New York, NY – Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, released the following statement tonight responding to news reports that the CCRB filed for the unsealing of grand jury minutes as part of their disciplinary case against NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo:

Gwen Carr: "Four Years Ago The NYPD Killed My Son. I’m Still Waiting For Justice."

At any point, Mayor Bill de Blasio could have held the police accountable for my son’s death. He’s chosen not to.

Four years ago the NYPD killed my son, Eric Garner. We demand justice.

Right before they came for him, Eric had broken up a fight. But the NYPD lied about that from the very beginning, telling the press he was being arrested for selling loose cigarettes — all to somehow justify their violence that led to his death.





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