Five long years ago, Eric Garner was delivered a death sentence on the streets of Staten Island for the accusation of selling a loose cigarette. With the family of Eric Garner in our minds and in our hearts, we want to publicly acknowledge Commissioner O'Neill's courageous decision to terminate Officer Pantaleo from the NYPD. After FIVE years of judicial disappointments, the Commissioner’s decision will allow the Garner Family to heal, finally. After five years, his decision will encourage our community advocates, civic leaders, educators, clergy, concerned residents, and especially our young men and women, to believe that justice does exist, for everyone.
The Commissioner’s decision, albeit unpopular for some, solidly places him on the right side of history and reinforces the need for accountability and transparency. It is now time for the healing to begin for the Garner family, for the 49th Council district, for our city, and for our nation, especially in communities of color. We are confident that this decision will serve as a model of law enforcement leadership, and will draw attention to the importance of continuing education and training in policing in every police department in this country.
This action brings closure to a festering wound and paves a path forward for trust, respect for civil rights and increased public safety.