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'One of the saddest days in New York City history'
After the New York Police Department suspended the officer whose chokehold killed a man in 2014, police union president Pat Lynch called it "one of the saddest days in New York City history."
An NYPD judge recommended Friday that officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired for his role in the death of Eric Garner, an event that sparked protests against police brutality nationwide.
"The decision that was passed down today saying that this police officer was reckless is ludicrous," Police Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch said. "New York City police officers now will be considered reckless every time they put their hands on someone."
Pantaleo was one of the officers who confronted 43-year-old Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014 for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally. While attempting to arrest Garner, Pantaleo employed a chokehold on Garner and took him to the ground.
Garner, as he was on the sidewalk being restrained, told officers multiple times, "I can't breathe." He died at the hospital hours later, with the coroner later determining that the chokehold led to his death.
Father of Six Dies After NYPD Police Chokeholdwww.youtube.com
Pantaleo has been suspended as this saga continues to play out, and Lynch believes the officer's rights have been violated in service of politics.
"This judge ignored the evidence and trampled P.O. Pantaleo's due process rights in order to deliver the result that the grandstanding politicians and protesters demanded," Lynch said.
Garner's family was pleased with the judge's decision, and hopes that NYPD commissioner James O'Neill will make the decision to fire Pantaleo.
"We've been waiting for five years for someone to say that he did something wrong, and they finally made that decision today. So we don't want to wait no more. Make your decision, Mr. O'Neill, as soon as possible," said Emerald Snipes-Garner, one of Garner's daughters.
The department intends to decide on Pantaleo's fate sometime this month.
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