NYPD Lieutenant Texted Officer "Not A Big Deal" After Learning Of Eric Garner's Death
The text, and others, were disclosed during Daniel Pantaleo’s disciplinary trial.
An NYPD police commander involved in the arrest of Eric Garner, the black man who died after being put in a chokehold by a police officer in 2014, told one of his officers that it was “not a big deal” after being informed of the incident and Garner’s condition.
In a report from the New York Times, this text and others were disclosed and reviewed during Daniel Pantaleo‘s ongoing disciplinary trial on Thursday. Pantaleo was the officer who placed Garner in a banned chokehold because he was allegedly selling loose cigarettes.
Lt. Christopher Bannon of the NYPD appeared before the court and read the text echange between himself and Dhanan Saminath, a sergeant.
“Danny [Pantaleo] and Justin [D’Amico, another officer involved] went to collar Eric Garner and he resisted. When they took him down Eric went into cardiac arrest. He’s unconscious. Might [be] DOA,” Saminath text to Bannon.
After a short exchange Bannon replied, “Not a big deal. We were effecting a lawful arrest.”
Speaking with the Guardian after the hearing, Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said that the text was “a pure smack in the face.”
“For the officer to disregard a human life like that…in other words it was business as usual. Leave him there, do what you want to do, go on about your business. That’s what it felt like to me,” Carr said.
Carr also said that she had not known about the messages until they were read in court.
During the hearing, Bannon tried to defend the remark, saying: “My reasoning behind that text message was not to be malicious, it’s to make sure the officer knew [he] was put in a bad situation. To try to bring him down to a level where you put him at ease.”
The hearing is set to continue into next week. As the Guardian noted, the harshest punishment Pantaleo faces is being sacked since the proceedings are not criminal.
Source: New York Times