New York – Federal prosecutors have ruled, and said they will not bring criminal charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner, who was killed back in 2014. If you guys can remember correctly, Mr. Garner was standing on the corner selling loose cigarettes, when he was “confronted” by officer Pantaleo and put in a choke hold. Mr. Garner’s dying words were “I can’t breathe.”
“Everyone agrees the incident should not have ended with Garner’s death,” the senior official said, but added that relevant law requires proof that the officer acted “willfully,” which requires an analysis of the cop’s state of mind. Under Supreme Court cases, that means it has to be more than a mistake or a momentary lapse of judgement — and after watching Garner’s dying video “countless times,” the senior official says, “We concluded that the evidence was not convincing that the officer acted willfully.”
“We prosecute people for what they do on purpose. We would have to prove that in that struggle, a dynamic situation, that the officer decided he was then going to apply that hold, that it was wasn’t just a mistake,” the official said. In formally announcing the decision later Tuesday, federal prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to determine the officer acted in violation of the federal criminal civil rights act and declared the longstanding investigation closed.
His family was absolutely devastated by the ruling of the Department of Justice, as they have every right to be.
“Today we can’t breathe because they have let us down,” Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, said at a press conference after the decision was made public. “We have been on the forefront. We have followed it up. We had to go. We had to fight. This is not a easy fight but we kept on pushing.”
“And make no mistake about we’re going to still push,” she added. “You could push back but we’re pushing forward because this is not the end.”
Garner’s daughter, Emerald Snipes Garner, said, “The federal government does not want to prosecute Pantaleo for killing Eric Garner! If you’re not standing for firing Pantaleo you are standing for nothing!”
For more information, visit nbcnewyork.com