5 years ago on July 17th, 2014
Eric Garner dies after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers
The city medical examiner's office concluded that the methods used to detain him during arrest, combined with his respiratory health, led to his death. A chokehold is a prohibited procedure for the NYPD to use, but video from the scene clearly showed officer Daniel Pantaleo with his arm around Eric's neck. The incident ignited protests across the city and country and Garner's dying words of "I can't breathe" became a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2015, the city reached a settlement with the Garner family in which they received $5.9 million in response to their wrongful death claim.
An investigation determined that charges would not be filed against the police officers involved. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice began an investigation into the actions of officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen in the eyewitness video putting Garner in a chokehold, and in 2019, the Department of Justice, now overseen by Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr, announced that they will not pursue civil rights charges against Pantaleo, a decision they voluntarily chose to announce one day before the anniversary of Garner's death.
On August 19, 2019, Police Commissioner O'Neill announced that NYPD officer Pantaleo would be fired, five years after Eric Garner's death, a delay the Commissioner attributed to being asked by the U.S. Justice Department to postpone the internal NYPD investigation.