The drama surrounding New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo and the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner may finally be over.
On Monday, Pantaleo was officially terminated by Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
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Pantaleo has been hanging over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s head for years. After De Blasio announced his candidacy for president, he promised justice would soon be served in this case.
While Pantaleo was never indicted by a grand jury for his role in Eric Garner’s death, he was brought before an independent disciplinary commission.
After his firing was officially announced, De Blasio proclaimed justice had finally been served. Garner’s family was grateful regarding the decision, but this case seems to be far from over at this point in their eyes.
While the disciplinary actions against Pantaleo are regarded as a political stunt by some, it may hurt De Blasio more than help him. While he didn’t openly support the decision, this was the outcome De Blasio obviously wanted.
Bill de Blasio is incapable of giving a definitive answer to any question, but the police union clearly took his statement of “justice has been done” as well as De Blasio’s criticism of the DOJ for not pressing charges as a lack of support for New York’s finest.
While De Blasio clearly has no shot of winning the presidency, he obviously has aspirations of higher office than the mayor of New York City. Without the support of the police union, however, that is going to be very hard to achieve.
The NYPD has already been the target of attacks on the street, with dozens of officers being ridiculed as well as being doused with water using water bottles and buckets.
This firing may make the protesters more brazen, but the ruling will also serve to freeze these officers from responding in any forceful way.
From the videos we have seen, officers have simply been walking away, not arresting anyone or retaliating so far. However, at some point, these attacks are going to go beyond water buckets and will undoubtedly become more violent.
Just what are those police officers going to do when someone far larger than they are, as was the case with Garner, carries out an attack? It will be a tough decision to make, knowing their careers could be in jeopardy because their commissioner and their mayor do not have their back.