Buzzfeed also reports that just a few hours after that judge’s decision was handed down, Pantaleo was suspended from the force. This comes five long years after Garner was put in a chokehold on July 17, 2014 – a maneuver the department had long outlawed – over selling loose cigarettes in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Pantaleo maintained the death grip around Garner’s throat despite Garner saying “I can’t breathe” at least 11 times.
With the New York Police commissioner mulling over the decision whether to fire Pantaleo or keep him on the force, NBC News reports, Garner’s daughter said it has taken far too long to acknowledge that Pantaleo did not follow proper procedure in restraining her father.
“This has been a long battle, five years too long. And finally, someone has said this cop has done something wrong,” Garner’s daughter, Emerald Garner Snipes, said at a press conference following the news of trials commissioner Rosemary Maldonado’s recommendation.
The Pantaleo suspension is small consolation for the Garner family. The U.S. Department of Justice chose not to indict Pantaleo on violating Garner’s civil rights. Attorney General William Barr, a Donald Trump-appointee, rendered that final decision, citing the lack of evidence showing that Pantaleo deliberately tried to kill the 43-year-old Garner.
“As you all can tell, I’m very angry,” Snipes said in the press conference after the DOJ decision as announced, according to NBC News. “I’m very angry. I stand here in the spirit of my sister, who fought for justice until her dying day for my father. Standing outside protesting, she called the Civilian Complaints Review Board … and they didn’t do their job. She called the Department of Justice, and they didn’t do their job.”