Judge Allows Eric Garner’s Family To Pursue Litigation Against City, NYPD

Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

The family of Eric Garner gathered on Staten Island over the weekend to commemorate the seventh anniversary of his death. Days earlier, a judge granted them permission to pursue litigation against NYC and the NYPD.  

“Seven years ago today, my son was murdered,” Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said at the event, Local News 8 reported. 

Garner died July 17, 2014 after a NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put the 43-year-old father in a chokehold. Cell phone video of his murder circulated sparking national protests as thousands raised up Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe” as a rallying cry against police brutality.  

Carr told CNN affiliate WCBS Saturday (July 17) she’s reliving her son’s death, “but I’m coming to grips with it by fighting for him.” “We’re still going to court about it and we’re still trying to get the officers to stand accountable –– the ones who were responsible for my son’s death that day,” she said.

The Family Wins Special Inquiry

Charges were never brought against Pantaleo. He was fired from the police force in August 2019 after the department found him guilty of using a chokehold on Garner five years prior. 

“We find that this is the rare case in which allegations of significant violations of duty, coupled with a serious lack of substantial investigation and public explanation, warrant a summary of inquiry to bring transparency to a matter of a profound public importance: the death of an unarmed civilian during the course of an arrest,” Judge Anil C. Singh wrote in his decision to allow Garner’s family to move forward with litigation against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the city’s police department. 

The family will reportedly be looking into alleged violations by de Blasio, former NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neil, and other city officials who are accused of “failure to conduct thorough investigations and discipline for misconduct, and the related cover-up,” the family’s attorney Gideon Oliver wrote in a press release.

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