One week after the Department of Justice declined to bring federal charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo and other officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, protests and calls for his firing are getting louder and more forceful. 

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson issued an immediate rebuke following U.S. Attorney General William Barrs decision last week and repeated his call for Pantaleos termination on Tuesday at a rally in front of the NYPD headquarters in Downtown Manhattan.

Last week, we learned that the Department of Justice decided not to file charges against Officer Pantaleo, said Johnson. Daniel Pantaleo and the other officers involved in Eric Garners horrific death should be fired. I am outraged that our system has failed his family time and time again. This was another slap in the face to Gwen Carr and her family. Simply put, those responsible must be held accountable for Erics death.

The DOJ announced its decision just a day before the fifth anniversary of Garners death. The Staten Island family father of six died on July 17, 2014, after being held in an illegal chokehold by Pantaleo, who did not let up despite Garner pleading I cant breathe, rendering him unconscious and causing him to suffer a heart attack subsequently.

Following the incident, Pantaleo was put on desk duty and stripped of his gun and badge. An internal affairs inquiry by the NYPD recommended disciplinary charges against him. But no charges were filed, and he remains gainfully employed to this day. 

PA Jumaane Williams joined City Council members on Tuesday in front of the NYPD headquarters, calling for the firing of Pantaleo. Photo credit: NYC Progressive Caucus

Last Thursday, the City Councils Black, Latino, Asian and Progressive Caucuses sent a joint letter to Police Commissioner James ONeill demanding Pantaleo’s immediate firing, the release of the names of all officers involved and ensuing disciplinary charges, and greater transparency from the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Five years have already been far too long, and Garners family and the public deserve accountability, transparency and justice, the caucuses wrote.

“I’ve been fighting alongside Eric Garners family and dedicated advocates for five years since he was killed by Daniel Pantaleo, said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at Tuesday’s rally. After all of that time, we are still pursuing justice. I’m looking to the NYPD commissioner and the mayor, who seemingly agree that a tragic injustice occurredbut have yet to do anything to seek justice now. I hope they will do the right thing and fire Pantaleo, but frankly, I’m not sure we should hold our breath.

City Council members continued to discuss Eric Garners case and highlighted other cases of police brutality at a meeting Tuesday afternoon, amNY reports. 

More than two dozen council members attended the meeting wearing T-shirts that read I cant breathe. During the headcount, each of the members recited the name of an unarmed civilian killed by police officers, following each name with I cant breathe.

City Council members discussed Eric Garners case and highlighted other cases of police brutality at a meeting Tuesday afternoon. Photo credit: NYC City Council

Up until now, those responsible for the death of Eric Garner have skirted accountability and disciplinary action,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, a member of the Black, Latino, Asian and Progressive Caucuses. “It is especially outrageous that Officer Daniel Pantaleo has continued to collect a six-figure salary after undeniably killing Mr. Garner with an illegal chokehold. Commissioner ONeill should fire Officer Pantaleo immediately, and Mayor de Blasio needs to demonstrate leadership by pressuring him to do so.

Pantaleo is still facing an internal disciplinary proceeding over whether he should be fired by the NYPD, reports NPR. The department had postponed the move out of deference to the DOJ inquiry.

De Blasio said he would let the NYPDs departmental hearing play itself out before making any decision regarding Pantaleo.

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