Press Releases

Fire Pantaleo, One Step Towards Police Accountability


Fire Pantaleo, One Step Towards Police Accountability

New York, NY

CONTACT: Christiaan Perez,, 212-739-7581

New York, NY - Earlier today, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil announced that Officer Daniel Pantaleo would be fired, 5 years after he killed Eric Garner using an illegal choke hold. Below is a statement from Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF:

5 years after Eric Garner was killed by Officer Pantaleo, we get a smidgen of justice. For 5 years now, the Mayor’s office, the NYPD and the DOJ have been trying to pass the buck and to avoid being the ones who hold the officers involved accountable for Eric Garner’s death. Today, after 5 years on the force and continuous pay increases, officer Pantaleo has been fired, but we need to make it clear that this is not enough. Since Eric Garner was killed, countless other black and brown people have been killed by police brutality. Each one of those cases continues to flounder as the police insulate themselves from accountability and elected officials pass the buck to someone else. In fact, the ability to hold the police force accountable continues to become more difficult as a result of policies or laws that prevent the public from knowing which specific officers were involved in killing an unarmed individual.

We took to the streets 5 years ago to demand justice for Eric Garner and we know justice should go far beyond holding one officer accountable. We need to ensure that all police officers know that killing an unarmed individual is an unforgivable act that demands accountability. So do things like trying to cover up the incident or not taking action to stop the killing. Commissioner O’Neil and Mayor DeBlasio have put the blame at the feet of Officer Pantaleo because they think this will take the focus off their culpability in the matter, but we need to make clear, whether through community action or at the ballot box, that anyone who is complicit in police brutality also deserves the blame.

No Justice no Peace.

LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For more than 40 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout New York and beyond. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit