Within days of officer Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD cop who caused Eric Garner’s death after using an illegal chokehold, being formally let go by New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill, a GoFundMe to support him has raised nearly $100,000.
The total amount—just over $95,000 as of Wednesday morning—nearly exceeds Pantaleo’s $97,000 annual salary.
“Support NYC Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and his family,” wrote the GoFundMe’s organizer. “Mayor de Blasio’s anti-police rhetoric contributed toward the decision to fire him. Let’s help an officer in need who was only doing his job! It’s the least we can do for a brother in blue with a newborn and bills to pay!”
New York City Public Defender Rebecca J. Kavanagh drew attention to the GoFundMe on Tuesday on Twitter, when it had raised more than $60,000 over the span of 24 hours. Kavanagh, who works for the Appeal, also noted racist comments donors had left on the page, “some of whom self-identify as cops,” she wrote.
Comments have since been disabled on the page.
Chief O’Neill announced Pantaleo’s firing on Monday afternoon—more than five years after Garner’s death. Pantaleo had been on administrative duty since Garner’s killing.
“It’s an extremely difficult decision,” O’Neill told reporters, according to Newsweek. “If I was still a cop, I’d probably be mad at me... [but] it’s my responsibility as police commissioner to look out for the city.”
O’Neill, who cited the mobile phone video showing Pantaleo clearly using a chokehold on Garner, made the decision weeks after a police department disciplinary judge recommended Pantaleo be fired.
Chokeholds are banned by the NYPD.