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.
“NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo murdered my son Eric with a chokehold that's been banned by the NYPD for over 20 years. Pantaleo should have been fired years ago. Instead, he has been taking home a six-figure salary with overtime every year since murdering Eric. For too long, the NYPD has been protecting Pantaleo and other officers responsible for Eric's death, as well as those who tried to cover it up. All NYPD officers responsible for killing Eric, and related misconduct, should be fired. I’m tired of waiting. After four and a half years of intense pain and suffering, my family deserves better — and so does all of New York City and people across the nation who protested and demanded justice for my son,” said Ms. Carr, mother of Eric Garner.
This Tuesday event at City Hall comes as Pantaleo and Sgt. Kizzy Adonis are the only two officers who currently have pending disciplinary charges. While a disciplinary hearing has been scheduled for CCRB's prosecution of Pantaleo, Eric Garner's family has heard nothing from the NYPD about the status of NYPD disciplinary proceedings against Sgt. Adonis. And they are not the only NYPD officers who should lose their jobs.
NYPD officers Justin Damico, Mark Ramos, and Craig Furlani were all reportedly involved in killing Eric Garner- by either failing to intervene or compressing his chest while handcuffing him.
Also, Sgt. Dhanan Saminath reportedly claimed in an official police report that Garner “did not appear to be in great distress,” which is patently false.
Those are just the names of NYPD officers known to be involved in Garner’s death. Mayor de Blasio has allowed the NYPD to withhold the names of other officers involved in Garner’s killing, who may have failed to intervene, or who tried to cover it up.
“Mayor de Blasio has allowed the NYPD to ignore - and, therefore, condone - the misconduct and abuse of numerous officers involved in Eric Garner's murder, including those who helped to hold Eric down while he said "I can't breathe" eleven times, did nothing to stop the brutality, and/or filed false reports about the incident,” said Loyda Colon, Justice Committee Co-Director and member of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). “Keeping officers who lie, use excessive force and disregard human life in the NYPD is contradictory to community safety and creates a culture that encourage the abuse of our communities to continue. We stand behind Eric's mother's demand that de Blasio immediately release the names of all the officers involved and ensure that they be charged and ultimately fired from the NYPD.”
Along with Ms. Carr, other participants in the City Hall event today included: Members and leaders of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), Justice Committee, Make the Road New York, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Justice League NYC, Arc of Justice, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Arab American Association of NY, Picture the Homeless, NYC Anti-Violence Project, Community Development Project, VOCAL-NY; elected officials, including New York City Council Member Jumaane Williams; New York City Council Member Donovan Richards; New York City Council Member Brad Lander; New York City Council Member Rory Lancman; New York Assembly Member Michael Blake; New York Assembly Member Dan Quart; New York Assembly Member Harvey Epstein; New York State Senator Julia Salazar.
“The family of Eric Garner has been suffering for far too long. Now, more than four years after his senseless death, here we are again rallying to demand justice that, so far, has been denied. It is outrageous that no one has been held accountable for Mr. Garner’s death. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, and all those involved, should be fired in order for the family to heal the wounds caused by this tragedy,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“Ms. Carr and the entire Garner family have already waited too long for justice on any level- from the NYPD to the DOJ. It is unacceptable that this family, who has suffered so much, is still mired in the purgatory of procedure. Not only does Officer Pantaleo clearly need to face justice, but all officers involved in this injustice must face the accountability that we have not yet seen,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “The profound absence of any real accountability or even transparency surrounding this case is as glaring as it is disturbing. This family deserves to see disciplinary action taken— and also deserve answers. They have been denied both for far too long.”
“The NYPD has stalled for far too long on these discipline trials and has allowed the pain of Eric Garner’s family to linger on without any closure,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of Public Safety. “Officer Pantaleo must be fired and any other officer involved must be held accountable. The feet-dragging and stall tactics have to end and we will be here demanding justice until they do.”
“After losing her son four years ago today, Gwen Carr has remained steadfast, fighting tenaciously and courageously for justice. That means holding all officers responsible for the killing of Mr. Garner accountable,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart. “Without accountability, there can be no justice.”
“Four years after the death of Eric Garner, the de Blasio administration and NYPD have failed to hold accountable those responsible for Garner’s death and its cover up,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The disciplinary hearing for Officer Daniel Pantaleo is long overdue, and the only fair and logical is outcome is for Pantaleo to be fired and a trial to be scheduled as soon as possible. The department must also release the names of all other officers involved and be held to higher transparency and accountability measures by the de Blasio administration.”
“For over four years, the NYPD has shielded officer Daniel Pantaleo from being held accountable for his decision to kill Eric Garner,” said Monifa Bandele, Senior Vice President at MomsRising. “This disciplinary hearing is long overdue and the only acceptable result will be a disciplinary trial where Pantaleo is fired. But Pantaleo did not act alone--the NYPD must fire all of the officers who engaged in misconduct that directly led to Eric’s death.”
“Four years ago my organization Justice League NYC took to the streets to demand justice for the family of Eric Garner after his tragic and wholly avoidable killing by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo,” said Carmen Perez, Executive Director, The Gathering for Justice/Justice League NYC. “Four years and the Mayor has done nothing but cower behind the federal government and abdicate all responsibility for transparency and accountability. Well no more - we stand with Ms. Carr and demand the Mayor do his job and fire Officer Pantaleo and ALL the officers responsible for the death of her son.”
"Eric Garner's family has waited far too long for justice following Eric's tragic death. I join Eric's mother Gwen Carr in demanding all of the officers involved be held accountable, and urge the Mayor to finally support my legislation banning police chokeholds once and for all" said Council Member Rory Lancman.
“I am appalled at the injustice Eric Garner and his family have received, including the grand jury declination to indict Officer Pantaleo,” said Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell. “From my experience as a criminal defense attorney with Legal Aid, I know that juries are not always offered all of the options in charging someone, and what charges are presented to the jury are incredibly important. However, what the district attorney-- an elected official-- charges a jury with is currently kept secret. That's why I immediately introduced a bill in Albany to release the district attorney's grand jury charges to the public once the jury has reached a decision. This would increase transparency in our criminal justice system and provide a mechanism to hold our elected district attorneys accountable.”
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 policing practices based on cooperation and respect– not discriminatory targeting and harassment. CPR brings 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 unfairly targeted the most by the NYPD. CPR is fighting for reforms that will promote community safety while ensuring that the NYPD protects and serves all New Yorkers.