Officer instrumental in Eric Garner killing, fired


Daniel Pantaleo, a police officer in Staten Island in New York City, was fired this week in regard to his role in the death of Eric Garner.

Garner, as many might remember, was the Staten Island man who was arrested for selling loose cigarettes in front of a store. According to reports, Garner resisted arrest and was subsequently put in a chokehold by Pantaleo. The move proved fatal, and Garner died after declaring 11 times “I can’t breathe.”

The 2014 incident helped to galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement. The incident that involves Pantaleo and Garner was caught on video.

The video’s presence seemed to assure concerned members of the public that justice would be served. But, there were no indictments in the murder. The ensuing five years since Garner’s killing in July 2014 have been full of protests from activists and public comments from Garner’s family.

Justice prolonged: Eric Garner

The firing of Pantaleo provides limited comfort. While according to reports at and, one of Garner’s children thanked the police Commissioner for the decision, the media outlets explain that Garner’s family wants to continue the fight against the NYPD for its use of problematic chokeholds among other concerns, including getting other officers fired who knew about the fatal incident.

In the aftermath of Garner’s death, a firing seems to be of little help. There is no action to bring back a life that shouldn’t have been taken. Even though according to several sources, Pantaleo used a technique that had been banned by the NYPD, he was not charged with murder, which upsets some members of the public.

Further, after Pantaleo’s firing earlier this week, his sergeant, who was on-duty when the event happened, was also punished. Sergeant Kizzy Adonis will lose 20 vacation days for her role in the incident.

As the news of the punishments gets out, it will be interesting to see how the case will ultimately unfold.

According to the New York Post and CBS News, Pantaleo, a 13-year veteran, is suing to get his job back. Other outlets report that while Pantaleo won’t be stripped of his pension, he will have what he paid into the fund returned.

No word on specific protests in relation to the officers’ punishments.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.