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

Community Leaders & New Yorkers Impacted by Discriminatory Policing Demand Full Accountability for All NYPD officers Involved in Eric Garner’s Death, Zero Tolerance for All Police Brutality

Groups call for de Blasio Administration to do more than just new NYPD training to prevent police brutality, end discriminatory and abusive Broken Windows policing

New Yorkers impacted by discriminatory policing were joined by elected officials and community leaders on the steps of City Hall to demand that all NYPD officers involved in the incident leading to Eric Garner’s death be held fully accountable, and that the de Blasio administration enforce zero tolerance for all police brutality and halt discriminatory, abusive broken windows policing. “The police brutality that stole Eric Garner from his family, and has taken the lives of so many other Black and Latino New Yorkers must end,” said Priscilla Gonzalez of Communities United for Police Reform. “Serious change is needed that proddvides full accountability for all the officers responsible and ensures there is zero tolerance for all police brutality. The de Blasio administration must also come to terms with the role broken windows plays in the abuse of communities of color. The hyper-enforcement of minor infractions that disproportionately targets communities of color must end for police-community relations to truly improve in any meaningful way.”

CPR Statement: Re: Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s Statements on the Eric Garner Incident

In response to comments made by Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bratton on the death of Eric Garner at a media availability today, Communities United for Police Reform released the following statement from spokesperson Priscilla Gonzalez.

“Eric Garner’s death did not happen in a vacuum and the division between police and communities was not only the product of the 12 years of the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk abuses. It is a longer-term problem caused by hyper-aggressive broken windows policing that has unjustly targeted communities of color for over 20 years, led to dozens of deadly police brutality cases and stop-and-frisk abuses perpetrated largely against Black and Latino New Yorkers.

Video: De Blasio Addresses Death of Man Strangled by NYPD Officer

Village Voice

On Thursday night, Staten Island man Eric Garner, 43, known affectionately as "Big E,"died while being arrested after an NYPD officer placed him in a chokehold. Garner, a father of six, was reportedly asthmatic. A disturbing video of the incident posted on Live Leak shows that Garner repeatedly said "I can't breathe!", sounding close to tears, as the police held him to the ground.

De Blasio Promises Full Investigation Into Death Of S.I. Man While In Police Custody

Mayor Offers Condolences To Family Of Eric Garner
CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton are promising a full and thorough investigation into the death of a Staten Island man while in police custody.

Two police officers — an eight-year veteran and a four-year veteran — have been placed on administrative duty after the death of Eric Garner, 43, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported. Garner went into cardiac arrest Thursday while being placed under arrest, police said.

The two cops have been allowed to keep their guns while the investigation continues.

CPR Statement: The Death of Eric Garner from NYPD Encounter, Chokehold

Re: Death of Eric Garner from NYPD Encounter, Chokehold

In response to the death of Eric Garner who was put in a chokehold by a NYPD officer, Communities United for Police Reform released the following statement from spokesperson Joo-Hyun Kang.






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