Eric Garner's daughter nails disturbing truth about police who kill black people
Since Eric Garner's chokehold death at the hands of a New York City police officer, his daughter, Erica Garner, has taken on a scorched-earth approach to seeking justice.
She has blasted the prosecutor whose secretive grand jury process ended with jurors declining to charge Officer Daniel Pantaleo. She has supported attempts to make the transcripts of those proceedings public, which by law could only happen by court order. And last week, she criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department officials for keeping Pantaleo's disciplinary record private.
So when Politico revealed on Monday that Pantaleo has received a salary bump and thousands of dollars in overtime pay since being placed on modified duty over Garner's death, it was, perhaps, another slap in the face to Garner.
According to city records, Pantaleo earned $119,996 — including $23,220 in overtime pay — in the fiscal year 2016. That amounts to a 35% increase in overtime pay and a 14% increase increase overall from the fiscal year 2015.
On Tuesday, incoming NYPD police commissioner James O'Neill told Politico that he had plans to review the overtime policy for police officers who have been placed on modified duty. A spokesman for de Blasio said the mayor supports "a close examination" of overtime payments to officers.
In one tweet, Erica Garner made a gut-wrenching observation about accountability for officers who kill black people in New York City.
Her tweet follows her blistering critique of city officials over their refusal to disclose whether Pantaleo has faced disciplinary actions over Garner's death. De Blasio's administration suddenly stopped disclosing the details of police disciplinary cases in April, citing a law — one that had not been followed in decades — prohibiting officials from divulging the information, according to The Root.
"Just because you love black p****y don't mean love about black lives," Garner reportedly tweeted — an apparent reference to the fact that de Blasio, who is white, is married to a black woman.
The blunt words from Garner reflect her ongoing frustration about the NYPD's transparency in handling of her father's case.
On July 17, 2014, Pantaleo and other NYPD officers attempted to arrest the 43-year-old Garner for allegedly selling cigarettes on a street outside a bodega on Staten Island. Garner's refusal to submit to the arrest escalated to several officers attempting to take him down by force.
But it was Pantaleo who authorities said used a banned chokehold on Garner, contributing to his death by cardiac arrest. The encounter was filmed by a bystander's smartphone — video shows Garner uttering the words "I can't breathe" before he falls silent and is unresponsive. Those words became a rallying cry that fueled Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.
More than two years after Garner's death, there have been no answers on whether Pantaleo will face any kind of reprimand. The U.S. Department of Justice, which agreed to independently investigate the case, has yet to release its findings or indicate whether it will charge Pantaleo with violating Garner's civil rights.
Erica Garner tweeted Monday that she's lost confidence in the DOJ, too.
Sept. 14, 2016, 2:50 p.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.