“I feel the same way I did before this shake-up happened. I feel like no matter who ‘investigates’ the murder of my father, no one will go to jail in the end,” Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica, told the Amsterdam News. “I use Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice and Mike Brown as my examples.”
Skepticism and tepid hope are occupying the same space as news broke Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, that in the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration his Department of Justice is looking to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Perhaps, some hopeful social observers have pronounced, the sheets are being pulled off in the police-involved (July 14, 2014) death of Staten Island father Eric Garner, as DOJ Washington D.C civil rights officials have snatched the prolonged, not-yet-adjudicated case from New York federal investigators.
Erica Garner continued, “I’m glad to see Attorney General Lynch is fighting for what is clearly justice, but this problem is bigger than her. Until there is full transparency, accountability and an end to the 13th Amendment, Black lives will continue to be worthless in the eyes of the law. I think that Mayor de Blasio should fire Daniel Pantaleo immediately. He won’t do that because he is an active participant of this cover-up. It is so sad to see the mayor give lip service to families like mine, Amadou Diallo’s or Deborah Danner’s and then tap dance for Pat Lynch and the police union. When I heard his son say that this de Blasio would end the stop-and-frisk era of policing, I believed him. We see what it looks like in reality … more of the same. I heard the lip service that the mayor gave the public concerning the new commissioner—let’s just say so far I’m unimpressed.”
The Garner case rocked the entire city and protests spread worldwide when the video of Garner being choked to death was released and seen by millions in July 2014.
It seemed to be a clear-cut case of use of excessive force by Pantaleo, exacerbated by fellow officers offering no assistance to the dying father as he uttered 11 times that he could not breathe as Pantaleo held him in an NYPD-prohibited chokehold. The impetus for the bold move by DOJ operatives to take up the case seems to have been spurred on by the failure of New York investigators to indict the cop or move further even with the internal police investigation. Frustration did not dampen the fervor of activists who still rally against police brutality even in the wake of the departure of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the appointment of his protégé James O’Neill.
The news that the DOJ in the capital was taking over the civil rights case comes in the wake of what some have seen as a series of legal missteps, which include Pantaleo not being indicted by then Staten Island D.A. Daniel Donovan, the still not-concluded NYPD internal investigation and the then Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s refusal to release the details of any NYPD findings in the internal investigation.