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Gwen Carr & Racial Justice Organizers Call on Mayor de Blasio to Drop the Appeal and Fire Officers Involved in Eric Garner’s Killing After Appeals Court Denies City's Bid to Stay Judicial Inquiry

This morning, in a rare move, the New York State Appellate Division – First Department denied the de Blasio administration's request to stay a historic judicial inquiry into violations and neglect of duty by top NYPD and City officials—including Mayor de Blasio—related to the killing of Eric Garner. The court ruled that the inquiry may proceed.

As part of the judicial inquiry, Mayor de Blasio, former NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, and others could be called to take the stand and answer questions about City officials’ neglect and violations of duties related to the killing of Eric Garner and the lack of discipline of officers other than Daniel Pantaleo.

The City is currently appealing to stop the historic judicial inquiry altogether and had sought to block all further proceedings before the lower court until the appeals court makes a decision in its appeal. The Appellate Division’s denial of the City’s request for a stay this morning means that proceedings related to the judicial inquiry may move forward before the Supreme Court while the appeals court considers the City’s appeal. The parties are due back before NY State Supreme Court Justice Erika M. Edwards for a public discovery conference at 10:00am on April 20th on the question of whether, and to what extent, discovery will be allowed before testimony is taken in the judicial inquiry.

Yesterday, petitioners, including Gwen Carr, Communities United for Police Reform, the Justice Committee, and the Brooklyn Movement Center, called on Mayor de Blasio to drop the appeal and stop obstructing transparency into Eric Garner’s killing.

“I’m glad that the court denied Mayor de Blasio’s attempt to delay this case even further, and de Blasio must drop the appeal,” said Gwen Carr (she/her), mother of Eric Garner. “My family and I have dealt with nearly seven years of delays from Mayor de Blasio, it’s time for some answers. Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD must fire Officer Justin D’Amico and Lt Christopher Bannon and all the other officers who engaged in wrongdoing in my son’s killing and the NYPD’s cover-up.”

“Mayor de Blasio and his law department keep cooking up new ways to delay and hide the facts about their refusal to fire officers in Eric Garner's and other cases—he’s just trying to prevent the truth from coming out,” said Loyda Colon (they/them), spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform and Executive Director of the Justice Committee. “De Blasio needs to drop the appeal now, stop protecting abusive officers like Justin D’Amico and others, who engaged in misconduct related to the killing of Eric Garner, and fire all of the cops involved.” 

Alvin Bragg (he/him/his), Co-Director of New York Law School’s (NYLS) Racial Justice Project and former NYS Chief Deputy Attorney General; Gideon Oliver (he/him/his), a past President of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; and Melissa Toback Levin (she/her/hers), and Rachel Welt (she/her/hers), NYLS Lewis Steel Racial Justice Fellows, are the lawyers for the petitioners.

“We hope the Appellate Division’s rejection of the City’s bid to further delay proceedings before the Supreme Court sends a clear message,” said Bragg and Oliver. “Justice for Eric Garner and his family, and the extraordinary circumstances in this case, require further transparency, not more delays and obfuscation. Today’s decision will allow the Petitioners to continue pressing for such transparency expeditiously, while the City’s appeal is pending.”



A historic petition was filed in August 2019, demanding a judicial inquiry into the violation and neglect of duty by Mayor de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner O’Neill, and others related to the unjust killing of Eric Garner. Petitioners included 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 Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mark Winston Griffith of Brooklyn Movement Center, and Kesi Foster of Make the Road New York.

In September of 2020, NY Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden ruled to allow the judicial inquiry to 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, Justice Madden rejected the City’s arguments, allowing proceedings related to the inquiry to move forward, unless the City won a stay from an appeals court. The de Blasio administration then requested a stay of the proceedings from the Appellate Division – First Department, but the appeals court denied the request. Gwen Carr, Communities United for Police Reform, Justice Committee, and the other petitioners are calling on the de Blasio administration to drop their appeal.

As part of a judicial inquiry, Mayor de Blasio, former NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, and others could be called to take the stand as part of the investigation into the city’s neglect and violation of duties related to the killing of Eric Garner.


About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

Topics: Eric Garner