New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill has fired the officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a choke hold in Staten Island five years ago.
Officer Daniel Pantaleo had so far evaded criminal charges or disciplinary action from the NYPD. Police Commissioner James O’Neil’s decision follows the recommendation of a judge, who ruled that Pantaleo’s use of a chokehold when he arrested 43-year-old Garner was misconduct.
“I stand before you today confident that I have reached the correct decision,” O’Neill said at a press conference Monday. “The unintended consequence of Mr Garner’s death must have a consequence of its own.”
On July 17, 2014, Pantaleo detained Garner and put him in a chokehold for allegedly selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. Garner’s final moments — and his final words “I can’t breathe” — were captured in a viral video, and fueled the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.
"None of us can take back our decisions, most especially when they lead to the death of another human being," O’Neill said at a news conference announcing his decision on Monday. "An officer's choices and actions, even made under extreme pressure, matter."
In December 2014, a Grand Jury in New York declined to bring charges against Pantaleo, and the DOJ investigation into Garner’s death recently wrapped up without finding that the officer had violated his civil rights.
Pantaleo has been on paid desk duty since the incident, and has even received pay increases over the years, according to the New York Daily News.
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Cover: New York City students and youth activists participate in a news conference and rally to commemorate the lives of Eric Garner and Delrawn Small, both of whom were killed by police in different incidents, on August 08, 2019 in New York City. The Staten Island event called on the mayor and police commissioner to fire officer Daniel Pantaleo who was involved in the death of Garner in Staten Island in 2014 but is still on the force waiting to hear a decision on his job. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.