Daniel Pantaleo — the former New York Police Department officer fired for the chokehold death of Eric Garner five years ago — sued the NYPD on Wednesday to get his job back.
Mr. Pantaleo claimed in his lawsuit that his firing in August was “arbitrary and capricious,” according to NBC News.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil fired him by recommendation of the NYPD’s Commissioner of Trials for using a chokehold on Garner, a hold prohibited by the police department.
“It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer,” Mr. O’Neill said at the time.
Mr. Pantaleo was one of two officers who confronted Garner in 2014 for selling cigarettes. As Garner continued to resist arrest and more backup came, a bystander captured the moment NYPD officers swarmed Garner, who was 6 foot 2 and about 400 pounds.
The footage also showed Mr. Pantaleo jumping on Garner’s back and putting the suspect in a chokehold, which he continued as Garner was brought to the ground, as more officers came to help, Garner began screaming “I can’t breathe” before dying.
Mr. O’Neill said Mr. Pantaleo did everything right up until the chokehold, and he placed blame on Garner as well for resisting arrest
“Every time I watch that video, I say to myself … ‘to Mr. Garner, don’t do it. Comply. Officer Pantaleo, don’t do it,’” Mr. O’Neill said.
New York civil code Article 78 allows Mr. Pantaleo to challenge his firing from a government agency.
Mr. Pantaleo won’t face any indictments in Garner’s death as a Staten Island jury chose not to indict him in 2014 and the Justice Department said in July that it would not pursue the case further.