Raising the Bar: Police Misconduct

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, an unarmed African American man, was allegedly selling cigarettes illegally on the streets of Staten Island, New York. After being approached and questioned by a couple police officers, NYPD Officer, Daniel Pantaleo brought Garner to the ground and proceeded by putting the man in a banned chokehold. Bystanders began to record the encounter, where the victim repeatedly could be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.” These three words would soon become the chants at protests and rallies following Eric Garner’s death the same day of the incident.

Although Garner’s death was ruled a homicide, on December of the same year (2014), the Richmond County grand jury decided not to indict Officer Pantaleo, sparking outrage around the country. In June 2019, NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo had his final disciplinary hearing by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a city oversight agency, 5 years after Eric Garner’s death. During the trial, the victim’s mother, Gwen Carr, expressed her disappointment that the judge of the hearing would not allow Officer Pantaleo’s statements to be challenged at trial, raising eyebrows over the effectiveness of the Civilian Complaint Review Board to be the watchdogs of NYPD.

Raising the Bar hosts Jason Clark, President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and Attorney Adeola Adejobi are joined by Lance A. Clarke, Partner of Bernstein Clarke & Moskovitz, PLLC; and Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society, Cynthia Cook-Conti, to discuss police misconduct across the country and the lack of civilian support by the law.