April 19, 2018: Federal civil rights prosecutors recommended charging Pantaleo.
The head of Pantaleo's union said Garner's death was an "undeniable tragedy", but that the officer did not cause it. Pantaleo didn't stop. His death amplified a crisis to the national level: Police brutality against Black people is rampant.
Cousin Michael Garner stressed that the family has the "utmost respect" for law enforcement when it is "applied fairly". She said she wants Pantaleo fired. Commissioner O'Neill, who has final say in the matter, then would determine whether Pantaleo could keep his job.
Meanwhile, police found Pantaleo violated department policy that has prohibited chokeholds since 1993 and placed him on "restricted duty" where he receives full salary.
A new city policy, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday, will require immediate disciplinary proceedings following a police officer's involvement in the death of an unarmed civilian.
"They had made up their mind and just kept the family in the dark in a real cowardly way.They were just going to let the statute of limitations expire". "For the ones that don't make the news, that don't say, 'I can't breathe, ' it's a win". Potential punishment ranges from loss of vacation days to termination.
Police officials said he was waiting for the report of the administrative judge before he would make his decision.
"The evidence here does not support Officer Daniel Pantaleo or any other officer with a federal civil rights violation", said Richard Donoghue, the US attorney for eastern NY.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in Garner's support Tuesday morning.
The Rev. Al Sharpton calls it "a moral disgrace" and "judicial malpractice". A friend of Garner captured the encounter on video, showing Garner trying to pull away from surrounding officers before Pantaleo used a chokehold to try and subdue him.
"Let me say as clear and equivocally as I can that Mr. Garner's death was a tragedy", USA attorney Richard Donoghue told reporters Tuesday.
The New York City Chief Medical Examiner's office ruled that Garner's death was a homicide induced by "compression of neck (choke hold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police".
The official confirmed that no NY police officer - not just Pantaleo - will face any charges. That decision, he said, is the result of a years-long and "exhaustive" investigation.
The official said Barr watched the video himself and got several briefings.
The Justice Department's decision, according to a senior official, was made by Attorney General William Barr, who took the Eastern District of New York's recommendation not to prosecute over the department's civil rights division's recommendation to move forward with a prosecution.
The official was not authorized to discuss investigative matters and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Video of the incident showed Garner, who was black, repeating the words "I can't breathe" 11 times as Pantaleo, a white officer, forced him down to the ground in an apparent chokehold.
"Even if we could prove that Officer Pantaleo's hold of Mr. Garner constituted unreasonable force, we would still have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of the law", Donoghue said.
NYPD policy prohibits use of the chokehold technique.
If politicians like Vermont Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were to draw attention to cases like Garner's he said, he believed that perhaps there might be some "justice" for the 43-year-old father's family.