NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The family of Eric Garner is fighting to get confidential records of one of the officers involved in her son’s death released.
On Tuesday, about half a dozen elected New York City officials joined Garner’s mother in filing legal action to unseal Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s misconduct record. Earlier this year a state court rejected the request.
“The system has to make our city safe and that means holding those who mess it up accountable,” Councilmember Andy King said. “If either one of us mess up our job we don’t get another chance of coming back in the office.”
“The need for transparency about policing could not be greater, could not be more obvious than in this case,” Donna Lieberman, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said.
Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died in July 2014 in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island, as police tried to arrest him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Pantaleo used a takedown move that many have described as a chokehold.
Garner told officers “I can’t breathe” as he was being arrested.
He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
The city medical examiner found the apparent police chokehold contributed to Garner’s death, but a grand jury declined to indict the officer in the death.
The city paid the Garner family nearly $6 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Justice Department has been reviewing the case to determine if Garner’s civil rights were violated.