NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Eric Garner’s mother will lead a rally today outside Gracie Mansion, home of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Gwen Carr and other activist are calling for “11 days of outrage” after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would not file civil rights charges against the officers involved in her son’s death.
NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was seen on video placing Garner in an apparent chokehold while trying to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes back in 2014 on Staten Island. Garner’s cries of “I can’t breathe” sparked nationwide protests around police reform.
Both the federal government and a state grand jury declined to pursue criminal charge against Pantaleo. He has been on desk duty since the incident and could face further disciplinary action, pending the outcome of a departmental trial.
“The NYPD announced in July 2018 that the internal disciplinary case against Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo would proceed without further delay. Today’s announcement by the US Department of Justice does not affect this process,” NYPD Public Information Deputy Commissioner Phillip Walzak said in a statement Tuesday. “The Departmental disciplinary trial of Officer Pantaleo has concluded. Commissioner O’Neill is now awaiting the report and recommendation from the Deputy Commissioner of Trials, after which he will make the final determination on the matter. In order to ensure the integrity of the process, the NYPD will not comment further at this time.”
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After the DOJ’s announcement, Garner’s mother demanded that de Blasio “step up” and fire Pantaleo.
“The de Blasio administration has blocked us,” Carr said Wednesday. “He can fire the officer at any time.”
“The mistake here was believing that the Justice Department was going to do its job,” de Blasio said.
“Every American is entitled to due process,” he added. “I’m not issuing an opinion because I respect that this process has to play out.”
Several hundred people marched through Lower Manhattan on Wednesday to mark the five year anniversary of Garner’s death. Thursday’s rally is set to start at 4:30 p.m.