Two of the NYPD officers apparently involved in the controversial arrest of a man who died under custody have been reassigned to desk duty and one has been stripped of his badge and gun, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
Eric Garner’s death drew national headlines after a video showed a police officer placing him in a chokehold as he shouts, “I can’t breathe.” NYPD policy bans chokeholds and outraged residents of Garner’s Staten Island neighbourhood took to the streets Saturday afternoon to decry the “racist” city police force.
The police department, which announced an immediate investigation, appears to be taking the incident at least somewhat seriously.
“Officer Daniel Pantaleo, an eight-year NYPD veteran, and an officer who has been with the force for four years were both taken off the street after the death,” the AP reported. “The department would not identify the second officer but said he would retain his gun and badge while on desk duty. The reassignment is effective immediately” The Daily News identified the second officer as Justin Damico.
NYPD’s decision to reassign the officers was criticised by Pat Lynch, the president of the city’s largest police union who called it a “completely unwarranted, knee-jerk reaction” that denies Pantaleo the “very benefit of a doubt that has long been part of the social contract that allows police officers to face the risks of this difficult and complex job.”
The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on Sunday.
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