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From chokehold death to Daniel Pantaleo fired

Associated Press

Published 10:32 a.m. ET Aug. 20, 2019 | Updated 10:49 a.m. ET Aug. 20, 2019


Eric Garner’s cry of “I can’t breathe” became a battle cry for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.

NEW YORK – NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill on Monday announced the firing of the officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold moments before his 2014 death.

The announcement of Daniel Pantaleo’s firing came just weeks after the five-year anniversary of Garner’s death.

A timeline of key events:

July 17, 2014: Eric Garner dies in a confrontation with Pantaleo after the officer placed him in what appeared to be a chokehold. Police had suspected Garner of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on the street on New York City’s Staten Island. The confrontation is caught on amateur video, including Garner’s words “I can’t breathe,” which become a rallying cry among protesters.

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died after a physical altercation with New York Police officer Daniel Pantaleo in this commercial area. (Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP)

Aug. 1, 2014: The city medical examiner’s office rules Garner’s death a homicide caused by neck compressions from a chokehold.

Aug. 23, 2014: Over 2,500 people march on Staten Island in protest of Garner’s death.

Sept. 19, 2014: Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist hired by Garner’s family, agrees with findings that a chokehold caused Garner’s death. Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, says that Pantaleo used a “seatbelt” maneuver and that the neck compressions were likely caused by lifesaving medical procedures.

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Esaw Garner, wife of Eric Garner, attends a news conference at the National Action Network headquarters in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 after a grand jury’s decision not to indict New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo. (Photo: John Minchillo, AP)

Dec. 3, 2014: A grand jury weighing whether to indict him finds “no reasonable cause” to bring charges against Pantaleo, triggering protests. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says federal authorities will conduct a civil rights investigation.

Dec. 20, 2014: A gunman ambushes two New York City Police officers in a patrol car and shoots them to death before killing himself. Authorities say Ismaaiyl Brinsley announced online he was planning to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for Garner’s death.

July 13, 2015: Garner’s family settles a lawsuit against the city for $5.9 million.

July 11, 2016: Garner’s siblings lend their voices to a song titled “I Can’t Breathe” that was released for the second anniversary of his death.

June 21, 2017: Garner’s family, along with Al Sharpton, meet privately with Justice Department officials. They are told the investigation is still active.

April 19, 2018: Federal civil rights prosecutors recommend charging Pantaleo.

July 16, 2018: The New York Police Department says it will allow disciplinary proceedings against Pantaleo, saying it’s run out of patience with federal authorities’ indecision.

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July 21, 2018: Disciplinary proceedings against Pantaleo begin.

May 13, 2019: After many delays, the NYPD disciplinary trial begins for Pantaleo.

New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo leaves his house on May 13, 2019, in Staten Island, N.Y. A long-delayed disciplinary trial began that day for Pantaleo, accused of using a banned chokehold in the July 2014 death of Eric Garner. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AP)

May 14, 2019: The NYPD official in charge of training recruits says the restraint technique Pantaleo used on Garner “meets the definition” of a chokehold. The practice was banned in the 1990s.

June 6, 2019: The disciplinary hearing for Pantaleo ends. It can take up to three months before an administrative judge recommends a punishment to the police commissioner.

July 16, 2019: Federal prosecutors say they will not bring charges against Pantaleo, a decision made one day before the five-year anniversary of Garner’s death.

August 19, 2019: NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announced the department’s decision to fire Pantaleo, more than five years after Garner’s death. Pantaleo will not receive pension. Later in the day, Police union President Patrick Lynch held a press conference to express his anger with the department’s decision. Lynch described Pantaleo as an “exemplary” officer.

Contributing: Jay Cannon and Emily Johnson, USA TODAY


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