NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Speaking publicly for the first time since a trial judge recommended the dismissal of the officer involved in the Eric Garner case, police commissioner James O’Neill vowed to be fair and weigh the facts with an open mind.
He promised Tuesday that Officer Daniel Pantaleo‘s fate would be determined by the book.
It could be the most momentous decision O’Neill makes as police commissioner, CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer says.
“I’m not going to speculate. I have to look at the testimony. I have to look at the evidence,” O’Neill said.
It won’t be easy. The commissioner is caught in a maelstrom of emotions and political cross currents. Garner’s family wants Pantaleo fired; the police union does not. Mayor Bill de Blasio is worried about the effect the decision will have on his presidential campaign.
Kramer: “I just wonder how you’re coping with the pressure from all sides, everybody pulling you in each direction to go a certain way.”
O’Neill: “Trust me, I can’t be pulled in either direction. This is the job of the police commissioner. I have to make decisions in disciplinary cases. This one’s an important one.”
“I think everybody in New York seems to understand that my almost-three years as a police commissioner… If there’s nothing that I’m not, it’s fair and I look out for all New York and I look out for the NYPD,” he continued.
O’Neill is not happy with union threats of a work slowdown if Pantaleo is fired.
The commissioner said he expects to make a decision by the end of the month after lawyers for the Civilian Complaint Review Board and Pantaleo’s lawyers have the opportunity to submit more arguments.