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NYPD Commander Called Killing of Eric Garner “Not a Big Deal”

HeadlineMay 17, 2019

In New York City, newly revealed text messages show a police commander shrugged off news about the death of African-American Staten Island resident Eric Garner in 2014 at the hands of a fellow officer as “not a big deal.” The revelation Thursday came during an NYPD disciplinary hearing for officer Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Garner by putting him in a chokehold and refusing to let go even as Garner gasped “I can’t breathe” 11 times. A text message exchange between officers just after Garner’s death showed police Lieutenant Christopher Bannon was warned Garner “had no pulse” and was “most likely DOA“—or dead on arrival. The commander responded, “Not a big deal,” and, “We were effecting a lawful arrest.” Officer Daniel Pantaleo never faced criminal prosecution but has remained on the police force. He could lose his job if found guilty of violating NYPD procedures, which ban the use of chokeholds.

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