A detailed report from NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Trials Rosemarie Maldonado on the death of Eric Garner found officer Daniel Pantaleo had committed “grave misconduct.”
The report states “the use of the chokehold fell so far short of the objective reasonableness that this tribunal found it to be reckless — a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer. Moreover, respondent’s glaring dereliction of responsibility precipitated a tragic outcome.”
The report concluded that “there is only one appropriate penalty for the grave misconduct that yielded and equally grave result, respondent can no longer remain a New York City police officer.”
CNN obtained the report, which was issued earlier this month after the conclusion of an NYPD trial into Pantaleo’s conduct. The report was obtained from a source familiar with the matter.
What we know about Maldonado decision: Pantaleo faced two charges during his departmental trial: use of a chokehold and restricting breathing. Maldonado mulled over the circumstances surrounding both charges for her ruling since the final day of deliberation in June.
As part of her ruling, Maldonado had to review the footage of Garner’s arrest in very fine detail. She focused in on the moments after Pantaleo takes down Garner. Pantaleo is seen on Garner’s back with one arm wrapped around his neck when he brings his other arm around and clasps them together, locking in the hold.
Pantaleo was trained not to use chokeholds while he was a rookie in 2006, according to the source. And Maldonado felt Pantaleo’s use of the move was both reckless and she states, “respondents egregious misconduct led to the deadly consequences his training anticipated and which the prohibition was designed to prevent.”
During the departmental trial, lawyers for Pantaleo argued that Garner’s neck was in the crook of his elbow and there was no pressure on his windpipe but rather on the sides of his neck, constituting a sleeper hold. Despite this, Maldonado ruled that while he was on top of Garner, he could have used a different tactic, not one that was banned by the NYPD.
But despite Maldonado’s ruling on Pantaleo’s use of the chokehold, she found that he was not guilty of restricting Garner’s breathing. The second charge had more to do with intent, meaning there needed to be clear intent to prevent someone from breathing in order for the charge to stick. But since Pantaleo made other attempts to subdue Garner with other NYPD approved tactics before the chokehold was applied, such as an arm bar, Maldonado ruled that it wasn’t Pantaleo’s goal to stop Garner from breathing.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill used this report as a guideline when making his decision to fire officer Pantaleo, which he announced at a news conference this afternoon.