NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado issued a 46-page opinion about NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s role in the death of Eric Garner on Sunday, in which she said the officer was ‘untruthful’ about the case. 

Garner’s death became widely publicized after cellphone video allegedly showed the officer using a chokehold on the suspect, which some say ultimately caused Garner to die. 

Conflicting reports from different medical examiners had yet to prove an actual cause of death. Some said that it was because of the chokehold, others argued that it had to do with an underlying heart condition.

But Maldonado tied Garner’s death to Officer Pantaleo’s actions.


Officer Pantaleo attempts to take Eric Garner to the ground. (Screenshot – YouTube)


In Maldonando’s report, published in part by the New York Post, she said Pantaleo’s “use of a chokehold fell so far short of objective reasonableness that this tribunal found it to be reckless — a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer.”

“Moreover, [Pantaleo’s] glaring dereliction of responsibility precipitated a tragic outcome,” Maldonado said. “The credible medical evidence and expert testimony demonstrated that [Pantaleo’s] recklessness caused internal hemorrhaging in Mr. Garner’s neck and was a significant factor in triggering the acute asthma attack which contributed to his death.”

This report came after the trial, which took place throughout May and June of this year.

In July, the United States Justice Department concluded its five-year investigation and announced that it would not bring civil rights or criminal charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

“The evidence here does not support Officer Daniel Pantaleo or any other officer with a federal civil rights violation,” said Richard Donoghue, the U.S. attorney for eastern New York. 


Maldonado’s report went on to say that interviews with Officer Pantaleo and other NYPD officers who testified on his behalf were “unhelpful or unreliable.”

Pantaleo “denied using a chokehold, even though his actions were completely consistent with his own erroneous and restrictive definition of the Patrol Guide prohibition,” Maldonado said. “The preponderance of the credible evidence contradicted his rationalization that the positioning of his elbow protected Mr. Garner’s neck and that he exerted no pressure to the throat. Specifically, [Pantaleo’s] self-serving version of events failed to satisfactorily account for the uncontroverted medical evidence of hemorrhaging in Mr. Garner’s anterior neck muscles and this tribunal’s own assessment of the video evidence capturing [Pantaleo] clasping his hands and pressing his forearm against Mr. Garner’s neck.”

She said that Pantaleo seemed “disingenuous” when viewing cellphone footage of the encounter.

“In fact, the more central the factual inquiry was, the more vague recollections became,” Maldonado said. “In sum, having carefully considered the video and medical evidence, in conjunction with witness testimony and applicable NYPD procedure, this tribunal finds that [Pantaleo] used a prohibited chokehold as defined by the Patrol Guide during this physical encounter.”

Back in July of 2014, police noticed 43-year-old Eric Garner allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, or “loosies” on the streets of New York. When Officer Daniel Pantaleo confronted Garner and gave him lawful orders, he immediately began resisting. 
Officer Pantaleo then reportedly used control tactics to take Garner down and got him into handcuffs. Garner was taken into custody and later died. 
A video that was captured at the scene appeared to show Pantaleo putting Garner in a chokehold as he cried out, “I can’t breathe” while struggling with police. While Pantaleo was justified in using force to try and subdue Garner, Maldonado said the way he did it was wrong. She recommended that he be terminated.

“ln making this penalty recommendation this tribunal recognizes that from the outset Mr. Garner was non-compliant and argumentative, and further notes that the Patrol Guide allows officers to use ‘reasonable force’ when necessary to take an uncooperative individual into custody. What the Patrol Guide did not allow, however, even when this individual was resisting arrest, was the use of a prohibited chokehold. Having considered relevant precedent, in conjunction with the arguments, caselaw, and evidence presented at trial, it is recommended that [Pantaleo] be DISMISSED from the New York City Police Department.”

Pantaleo recently dodged formal charges due to ‘insufficient evidence’. 

As of right now, it’s unclear whether or not Pantaleo will keep his job on the force, but the NYPD is expected to hand down their decision shortly. 

“As noted in Disciplinary Case No. 7616112 (March 28, 2017), the tribunal cannot ‘overlook’ the fatal consequences of an officer’s reckless disregard of Department procedure,” Maldonado wrote.

Reports indicated that the decision about the officer’s job may be announced as soon as Monday.
Garner’s family sued the city after their son’s death. New York reached a $5.9 million settlement with the family in 2015.
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