Gwen Carr says that the Department of Justice has not told her anything.
“I haven’t heard anything except word of mouth,” she said. “I was outraged that they haven’t contacted me to say they still haven’t made a decision.”
It’s been nearly four years since NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner in a chokehold on Staten Island – after Garner was approached for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.
Garner’s final words, “I can’t breathe,” were captured on cellphone video. His death sparked national protests about force used by police officers.
Multiple sources, including the Associated Press, report that prosecutors within the civil rights division of the DOJ have recommended charges against Pantaleo, but it appears that officials may have reached an impasse, some of them uncertain if the case is winnable.
“Last summer, they told me that before year end that we would have a decision, and now it’s April and there’s still no decision,” Carr said. “So I think between DOJ and Mayor de Blasio, Mayor de Blasio should fire those cops. They’re not doing what they’re supposed to do.”
De Blasio issued a statement on Friday that reads, in part, “After almost four years of deliberation, and with the NYPD long ready to proceed with its disciplinary process, we once again urge the Department of Justice to show some level of decency to the Garner family and make its decision.”
Previously, a state grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo. He has been on desk duty since shortly after Garner’s death.
His attorney Stu London issued a statement saying that Pantaleo “has consistently denied that he used a choke hold or violated Mr Garner’s civil rights,” going on to say that “he is cognizant of the fact that there was a loss of life and that is always a tragedy.”
“Jeff Sessions, who is now in control of the DOJ, and they’re supposed to be quote unquote interested in law and order, well, let’s get some law and order for those police officers,” Carr said.
Unlike the Obama administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been hesitant to use his civil rights team to investigate unconstitutional police practices. As far as Pantaleo’s future with the NYPD, police officials are waiting for the federal resolution.