Community activists and some New York City elected officials are demanding that the police department release misconduct records pertaining to the officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold that killed him.
Elected officials and advocates told the Daily News that they intend to file court briefs opposing the city’s appeal of a July 15 state court decision that called from release of a summary of misconduct findings against officer Daniel Panteleo, who administered the chokehold.
“Change does not happen without an honest conversation in our communities, in our courthouses, at City Hall about how we have real reform in the criminal justice system, real reform in our communities and real relationships between NYPD and the people they serve,” Tina Luongo, attorney-in-chief for Legal Aid Society Criminal Practice, the plaintiff in the court case, said during a news conference.
The NYPD declared that it is halting its practice of publicly disclosing a police officer’s disciplinary record, suggesting that the 1976 state Civil Rights law makes it impossible for them to release such information.
State Supreme Court Judge Alice Schlesinger ordered the release of the documents, which had been sought by The Legal Aid Society under the state Freedom of Information Law.
Garner, 43, died in July 2014 as police tried to arrest him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Pantaleo used a takedown move that many have described as a chokehold. Garner was heard telling officers that “I can’t breathe” as he was being arrested.
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.