NYPD Officer Won’t Be Charged In Garner Chokehold Death


Federal prosecutors won’t bring civil rights charges against a New York City police officer in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

The decision not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo comes a day before the statute of limitations was set to expire, on the fifth anniversary of the encounter that led to Garner’s death. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Officers were attempting to arrest Garner on charges he sold loose, untaxed cigarettes outside a Staten Island convenience store. He refused to be handcuffed, and officers took him down.

Garner is heard on bystander video crying out “I can’t breathe” at least 11 times before he falls unconscious. He later died. Garner was black; Pantaleo is white. Garner’s death, along with the deaths of other black men at the hands of police, became a rally cry for police reform activists.

A state grand jury also refused to indict the officer on criminal charges.

Garner’s family and attorney were meeting with federal prosecutors at 10 a.m. Tuesday. A news conference was planned after with the Rev. Al Sharpton, and they were expected to address the outcome. Pantaleo’s attorney, Stuart London, said he was not immediately aware of the decision.

Chokeholds are banned under police policy. Pantaleo maintained he used a legal takedown maneuver called the “seatbelt.”

The medical examiner’s office said a chokehold contributed to Garner’s death.

The New York Police Department brought Pantaleo up on departmental charges earlier this year. Federal prosecutors were observing the proceedings. An administrative judge has not ruled whether he violated policy. He could face dismissal, but Police Commissioner James O’Neill has the final say.

In the years since the Garner death, Pantaleo has remained on the job but not in the field, and activists have decried his paycheck that included union-negotiated raises.



  1. All Garner had to do was comply with the order to be handcuffed, and then explain it to a judge. If there was no crime, he’d be immediately released. Instead, he indirectly dragged Sharpton out of his crevice in the gutter. His death was suicide by cops.

  2. I smell one big black riot coming to NYC this summer. Just wait til those temps start getting really hot next week. It’s coming.

  3. Arizona; Maybe in Arizona home of the sadist Joe Arpaio the punishment for resisting arrest is the death penalty but it’s not supposed to be in New York. Another reason besides the heat to avoid Arizona.

  4. Arizona,
    Would you say the same thing if the police decided to arrest a teenager selling esrogim on the street without a permit? Imagine if this teenager was tackled to the ground and also had his asthma triggered resulting in his death. Would you say the same thing- he should have just complied and explain it to a judge- or would you be outraged?

  5. Cops are way too powerful. While I respect the idea of law enforcement, most cops are C students who couldn’t hack anything else. They serve the frum community horribly. 5 years ago I would have been hapoy for the cop. Now I’m not. It could have very well been one of ours.

  6. Uncle Ben, immature statement on your part to mention avoiding the State of Arizona. Regardless if you agree with one’s statements or not, Arizona (Phoenix in particular) has shuls, yeshivas, kollelim, and a growing frum community— which is commendable, not avoidable. There is plenty to say about some anti-Torah policies of the State Governments of New York and the City of New York, but as with the State of Arizona, it has no relevance to this discussion.

  7. bk613,
    If the teenager is as big as this guy and resisting arrest, I understand the officer, and also don’t forget the guy had a long list of arrests including resisting arrest.

  8. Arizona is 100% right.

    Uncle Ben – Arizona is a far, far better place to live than the filth infested New York.

    bk613 – I would say the exact same thing in both cases.

  9. Uncle Ben: Don’t be ridiculous. There was never a death penalty in AZ for resisting arrest. Sheriff Arpaio merely enforced laws enacted by legislatures.
    bk613: A Jewish teen, here at least, would say, “Yes, sir”, and then pack up and go home. He wouldn’t resist, and would therefore never be taken to the ground. Jews in Phoenix actually respect the law and those whose job it is to enforce it. Unlike in NYC, of course.
    Yes, the two of you should avoid Arizona, for the good of Arizona.

  10. just watch the video. I still shake every time I think about it. I’m usually pro-police in these situations, but this guy was no threat or danger to anyone. There were a number of other cops there. If a guy is yelling 11 times “I can’t breath” you loosen up a little. This cop is a murderer.

  11. If the guy is yelling that he can’t breathe, then he can breathe.

    The simple truth is that Garner committed suicide. He died of a self-induced heart-attack, caused ENTIRELY by his criminal decision to resist arrest. He had no legal or moral right to do so, but more importantly he was in no condition to do so. Someone in his physical condition should not be fighting anyone, for any reason. If he gets mugged he should hand over his wallet; if he gets arrested he should go quietly, simply because the act of resisting could kill him. The cop is entirely blameless and it’s unfair that he has gone through this ordeal. Garner’s family should compensate him out of the windfall they got from the city.

  12. There is no death penalty for resisting arrest, any more than there’s a death penalty for crossing the road without looking. Nevertheless, both are likely to get you killed, especially if you’re in no physical condition to engage in any sort of strenuous activity.