The officer responsible for placing Staten Island native Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in July 2014 reportedly had a history of disciplinary complaints filed against him, which ultimately required more attention and disciplinary action, The New York Daily News reports.
The site states that the organization provided enough evidence to support four issued complaints, and suggested disciplinary action for Pantaleo years before the incident with Garner. However, in a statement to the site, the CCRB refused to confirm if the records were legitimate, but the agency shared that a complaint number on one of the documents was from an actual case.
Amid the release of the reports, lawyers aren’t too surprised by their findings, claiming that the NYPD is fraudulent. Civil rights attorney Joel Berger echoes these sentiments. “The NYPD disciplinary system is a farce and this proves what a farce it is,” Berger said. “Lose a few vacation days? These are red flags. Someone should have taken notice. This was an officer with problems. We all suspected it. This proves it.”
“That level of force comes with a pattern and practice of getting away with that with other people,” added legal aid lawyer Tina Luongo, saying she wasn’t “surprised” Pantaleo had these complaints before killing Garner.
Essentially, these disclosures came after legal aid lawyers pressured a panel of judges to force the city to release disciplinary action documents for those cops being protected under state civil rights law 50-a.
However, like in any controversial battle against authorities, which then in turn exposes their corrupt wrong doings, resistance from other officials comes to light. Pat Lynch, the head of the largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, shared his thoughts on the matter.
“The leak of such information is simply another demonstration of the CCRB’s inability to function in the fair and impartial manner prescribed by the City Charter,” Lynch said. “It is an agency that actively solicits complaints, places pressure on citizens to continue questionable claims and presides over a system that encourages the pursuit of false, unsworn allegations. Their ineptness is well documented and well known and renders virtually any information released or leaked by the agency as meaningless.”
The site stated that Pantaleo was accused of failing to get medical assistance for a civilian back in 2009. Additionally, he struck someone with an object in 2011 and had a slew of car stopping violations in 2012. In 2013, he was also accused of using physical force against another person.
Whether or not obtaining these records against Pantaleo is ethical, there is no denying that the chilling incident that took place on July 17, 2014 spurred a national movement with Black Lives Matter.