NEW YORK — The cop fired from the NYPD over the chokehold death of Eric Garner plans to sue to get his job back.
Daniel Pantaleo will file court papers to appeal Police Commissioner James O’Neill’s Monday decision ousting him from the force for his role in Garner’s 2014 death, the cop’s lawyer said Monday.
“Obviously he is disappointed, upset, but has a lot of strength and wants to go forward as strenuously as we can,” the lawyer, Stuart London, told reporters. “… We’re looking for him to get his job back.”
Pantaleo was fired Monday after an NYPD judge found he recklessly put Garner in a banned chokehold in July 2014 as he and other cops tried to arrest Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.
Pantaleo’s ouster followed a roughly three-week disciplinary trial that started nearly five years after Garner’s death sparked widepsread protests against police brutality. Pantaleo has avoided state and federal criminal charges for the incident.
London said the cop will appeal his dismissal in an Article 78 case, a legal proceeding used to challenge an administrative agency decision in New York State court.
“If we need to appeal it beyond that we will,” London said at a news conference called by the New York City Police Benevolent Association, Pantaleo’s police union. He called Pantaleo’s firing a “cruel and inhuman” penalty that “doesn’t fit the crime.”
Pantaleo’s termination means the money he has contributed to his pension in his 13 years on the job will be returned to him, O’Neill said Monday.
London said NYPD brass offered to let Pantaleo leave his job and keep his pension, but the offer was taken off the table on Saturday.
London called Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado’s Aug. 2 ruling recommending Pantaleo’s ouster “horrific.” It tells cops that they will be considered reckless if they so much as put their hands on a New Yorker, London and PBA President Patrick Lynch argued.
“What I think happened was Commissioner Maldonado made a decision to find him guilty and then worked backwards,” London said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was not aware of the offer that would have allowed Pantaleo to keep his pension, but he cast doubt on Lynch and London’s claims.
“Don’t believe anything Pat Lynch says,” the Democratic mayor said.