Win: Court Rejects de Blasio, NYPD Bid to Stymie Public Judicial Inquiry into Eric Garner Killing
New York, NY (December 22, 2020) – In October, the City of New York filed a notice of appeal of NY Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden’s September 24, 2020 decision to allow a public judicial inquiry into the killing of Eric Garner by NYPD officers to proceed. Lawyers for Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD then argued that Justice Madden could not, and should not, proceed with the public inquiry while their appeal was pending – effectively putting the case on ice. In a written decision issued today, Justice Madden rejected the City’s arguments, meaning that further proceedings related to the inquiry can move forward, unless the City seeks and wins a stay from an appeals court. The family of Eric Garner and Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) applaud Supreme Court Justice Madden’s decision to reject the City’s arguments that there is an automatic stay.
“There are no lengths the Mayor and the NYPD won’t go in order to delay justice for my son, Eric,” said Gwen Carr (she/her), mother of Eric Garner. “De Blasio and the NYPD have refused to fire most of the officers who engaged in wrongdoing when Eric was murdered and they’ve tried to stop this judicial inquiry from the start, which shows how desperate they are to avoid the truth being known. I have waited almost seven excruciating years for officers like Justin D’Amico and Lt. Christopher Bannon to be fired and for the NYPD to be held accountable for their role and cover-up related to my son’s killing. I'm glad Judge Madden saw through the tricks de Blasio's attorney were trying to pull, I hope de Blasio and others will finally have to answer our questions on the stand, and that the public will see how they got away with trying to cover-up a murder.”
The original 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. Earlier this year, Judge Madden ruled to allow the judicial inquiry to proceed. Unhappy with the court’s decision to allow the petition to proceed, the City tried once again to block the petition by filing a notice of appeal, which is still pending, and by attempting to argue that there is an automatic stay to proceedings. 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.
“It's good that the court rejected the City's baseless attempt to once again block transparency and justice related to Eric Garner," said Loyda Colon (they/them), CPR spokesperson and co-director of the Justice Committee. “Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD have tried to block transparency and accountability at every turn and the court has found them wrong, again. De Blasio should stop hiding behind legal maneuvers and let the truth come out so that Eric's family and New Yorkers don't have to wait any longer to learn the details of what we believe has been a massive cover-up and protection of abusive officers since the day Eric was killed."
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.
Lawyers for the petitioners, Alvin Bragg (he/him/his), Co-Director of New York Law School’s (NYLS) Racial Justice Project and former NYS Chief Deputy Attorney General; Melissa Toback (she/her/hers) and Rachel Welt (she/her/hers), Lewis Steel Racial Justice Fellows; and Gideon Oliver (he/him/his), a past President of the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, vowed to continue pushing to hold the public inquiry, as soon as possible.
“Just a few months ago, the Mayor and NYPD said that they have the power, but not the duty, to discipline officers involved in Eric Garner’s killing,” said Bragg and Oliver. “The Court rejected that argument, ordering a public inquiry through which we mean to hold them to account for shirking those duties, including for deciding not to discipline certain officers. We look forward to shining a light on what has happened behind the closed doors at City Hall and within the NYPD for the past six years following Eric Garner’s killing, hopefully soon, and without further resistance from the Mayor and NYPD.”
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