“It ain’t over,” Sharpton declared
Herb Boyd | 8/8/2019, 12:01 p.m.
After an interminably long five years, the wheels of justice finally moved a notch Friday, Aug. 2, when Judge Rosemarie Maldonado, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of aTrials recommended that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the department for his role in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has been taking heat for not firing Pantaleo, said the decision was “a step toward justice.” But Pantaleo’s fate rests in the hands of Police Commissioner James O’Neill who suspended the officer upon hearing the judge’s recommendation.
“It ain’t over,” the Rev. Al Sharpton declared at the National Action Network Saturday, surrounded by a host of elected officials and civic leaders. “That officer should not be on the payroll. He’s a clear and present danger.”
Sharpton told the crowd that he will continue to pursue justice for the Garner family, “and we will not stop until we have an Eric Garner Anti-chokehold federal law.”
Emerald Snipes Garner, Eric Garner’s youngest daughter, electrified the audience and charged the NYPD with protecting Pantaleo. “He’s a murderer,” she cried, “and I will never see my father again. And if he’s not fired I promise you will see the largest protest this city has ever seen.”
Her pain was evident and the burden of losing her father was increased when her sister, Erica, 27, died of a heart attack two years ago and her stepfather Ben Carr, died recently of a heart attack while attending a wedding.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams who has been steadfast in his support of the Garner family and often among the leaders at protest rallies, said that not only should Pantaleo be fired “but all the other officers who were involved in his death should be fired.” He assailed Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, for threatening the mayor if Pantaleo is fired. “Please just stop,” he pleaded, demanding an end to Lynch’s threats.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat voiced his support for Sharpton who had been called a racist by Trump and saw the brewing struggle for justice in fight terms. “Yes, a heavyweight bout is coming, but in Rev. Sharpton we have the heavyweight champion,” he said.
A final decision from the police commissioner may not come for a couple of weeks as lawyers on both sides have a chance to review the more than forty-page report from Judge Maldonado.
Several pundits have weighed in on the issue and there appears to be a consensus that Officer Pantaleo will be pressured to resign with an understanding that his pension will not be revoked.
Meanwhile, Pantaleo’s attorney Stuart London said they are prepared to fight to keep Pantaleo on the force where he has been working in a desk assignment capacity.