New York officer fired five years after chokehold death

A New York City police officer has been fired five years after the chokehold death of an unarmed black man.

Eric Garner died in 2014 but his death and dying cries of “I can’t breathe” inspired the Black Lives Matter movement.

His death also started a debate about race and the use of force by police in the US.

Eric Garner died in 2014
Image: Eric Garner died in 2014

Police Commissioner James O’Neill said officer Daniel Pantaleo was fired on the recommendation of a department disciplinary judge.

He said Pantaleo could “no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer”, adding that Mr Garner’s death had been an “irreversible tragedy” that “must have a consequence”.

“None of us can take back our decisions, especially when they lead to the death of another human being,” he said.

Pantaleo was only suspended earlier this month, having been on desk duty since footage of Mr Garner’s death showed him using the banned chokehold.

More from New York

Protesters march on streets around the White House perimeter in Washington, DC during the annual White House Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, December 4, 2014, against the chokehold death of an unarmed black father-of-six by a white police officer
Image: Eric Garner’s dying cries inspired the Black Lives Matter movement

Mr Garner, 43, was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes.

Commissioner O’Neill said he had struggled with the decision to fire Pantaleo because of the way Mr Garner had resisted arrest and that – in his view – the police officer had been acting properly until he had used the chokehold.

“That could possibly be me,” he said of Pantaleo.

However, he could not overlook the use of the chokehold, which happened despite officers being told in training that it was banned.

In 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo on criminal charges but the city paid a $5.9m (£4.86m) settlement to Mr Garner’s family the following year to avoid a lawsuit.

Last month, after five years, federal prosecutors said they would not bring charges due to insufficient evidence.

Source: SKY NEWS

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