The New York police officer who used a chokehold during the fatal arrest of 43-year-old Eric Garner on Staten Island has been assigned to desk duty while investigators continue to look into Garner’s death, police revealed Saturday.
Meanwhile, the officer has also been stripped of his badge and his gun.
With racial tensions between the Black community in New York and the New York Police Department already boiling over, another death has caused many Black people in New York to question whether any progress is really being made.
The Staten Island father died Thursday after Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year NYPD veteran, performed a chokehold on him during his arrest.
While it has not been proven that the chokehold is what killed Garner, investigators are taking a close look at the arrest and admitted that the chokehold tactic is prohibited by departmental policy.
The arrest was captured on video and showed Garner telling officers that he couldn’t breathe after the chokehold was performed.
After he was wrestled to the ground, another officer pushed Garner’s face into the sidewalk while other officers gathered around him to hold him down.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described the arrest as “very troubling.”
A rally took place Saturday in Harlem for Garner where his widow, Esaw Garner, was seen breaking down in tears in the arms of the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“This is going to be a real test to see where policies are in the city now and whether the change that we feel occurred has occurred,” Sharpton told the crowd as they rallied together in honor of Garner. “We are the only ones in the social set-up that has to deal with fear of cops and robbers.”
Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, doesn’t agree that the officer should have received any consequences.
Lynch said that reassigning the officer to desk duty and taking his gun and badge away was “completely unwarranted.”
Marco Carrion, the mayor’s commissioner for community affairs, attended the rally and said there was a dire need for better relationships between the community and law enforcement.
“We’ve said from the beginning: police work best when they have the respect from the community,” Carrion told the crowd.
A funeral for Garner will be held Wednesday at the Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
Another rally will take place on Staten Island on Saturday afternoon.