A judge on New York’s Supreme Court has ordered a new investigation into the death of Eric Garner in 2014, a 43-year-old Black man who was killed after being put in a chokehold by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo on accusations of selling loose cigarettes.
While a widely-circulated video of Garner being brutally held down while saying “I can’t breathe” launched national outrage and protests at the time, a grand jury in Staten Island chose not to indict Pantaleo or his partner, Officer Justin Damico, on criminal charges for the brutal arrest.
This despite the fact that the city’s medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide asphyxiation, and that the chokehold used to suffocate him had been banned for use by the NYPD since the 1990s.
The numerous killings of Black people this year at the hands of police and the renewed protests in defense of Black lives which emerged in response to them seems to have breathed some life into the civil litigation that Garner’s family has maintained against the city of New York for their loved one’s death.
According to NBC, state Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden ruled in favor of a request made by Garner’s mother and sister this Thursday and has ordered that a comprehensive public judiciary inquiry be launched into the case.
Madden said in her ruling that there was “no indication” police administered aid to Garner after he fell unconscious. She called an alleged lack of investigation by the police commissioner “neglect of duty.”
She also suggested Damico lied in claiming in a police report that Garner committed a felony for selling loose cigarettes, although the amount in his possession would not have supported such a charge.
The inquiry will probe the “alleged lack of immediate medical aid to Garner by officers; alleged lies in a police report; the unauthorized release of Garner’s arrest record; and release of autopsy information by New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner,” reports NBC.
A hearing on the investigation is scheduled for October 6.
Pantaleo was fired from his post with the NYPD last year, but has filed a lawsuit to get it back. New York legislators passed the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Law this summer, making it a felony for cops to use the restraint and cause physical injury or death.