Pictured above is 8 year veteran NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. He is the Staten Island police officer that choked Eric Garner on the street.
Now I know some of you fine white folks and a few non-Black POC (I see y’all too) are saying that this was an isolated incident. I guess they skipped the beginning of the video where Eric Garner said he was tired of the police harassing him all the time and they should leave him alone. That’s the selective hearing people in denial tend to have. Someone also told me to “stop playing the race card”. Another said that Eric Garner died because he was heavy. Being choked from behind, forcibly taken to the ground, having 5 officers pounce on top of you making you unable to breathe and having your head slammed on the concrete sidewalk as you plead that you can’t breathe had nothing to do with it all. They will overlook all that. If there is one thing I know, it’s that no matter how clear cut something is, a white person somewhere will excuse and rationalize it if the victim is Black.
Back to officer Daniel Pantaleo. The NY Daily News is now reporting that he has a history of complaints from Black folks (big surprise).
Via the NY Daily News
Pantaleo has been accused of false arrest and violating police procedures in two lawsuits, court records show. In one, two African-American plaintiffs won $15,000 apiece after claiming they’d been falsely arrested on Staten Island in 2012 and forced to publicly strip so cops could search them. All charges against them were dropped.
Plaintiff Darren Collins, 46, told The News on Friday night he was too frightened to talk.
“I’m scared of what (the cops) may do to me … I was harassed” after the arrest, he said.
The other lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn in February, alleged Pantaleo trumped up charges to arrest the plaintiff, who was wrongly jailed for a day.
This is what they do. That forced stripping thing is very common. They even did it to a 14 year old Black boy. They saw him throwing eggs on halloween, so what did they do? They took him in their patrol car and drove him out to an isolated marsh area on the Island, then told him to strip and proceeded to beat him up to their satisfaction and then abandoned him naked out there. The kid’s name is Rayshawn Moreno. You can read about his case here.
Another thing they love to do when patting down Black men is grabbing and squeezing your privates. I want people to understand that it’s not isolated and it’s not out of the blue. All this talk about the nice police officers you know is meaningless when the system they serve targets Black people. What good is individual niceness when systemic brutality is the rule? When racist policies like stop and frisk were enacted, will officer friendly prevent that reality or will he follow the command? Their colleagues are setting people up, bringing up trumped up charges, dishing out beatings, harassment etc. Where is officer friendly taking a stand against all this? White people never consider that officer friendly is often a nightmare in other communities. The violation of rights that will never happen in white communities is standard operating procedure by the NYPD in Black communities.
In addition, most victims won’t sue or file reports because they’ve come to expect it and are sadly used to ill treatment by the police. Are they supposed to file a report against the police with the police? Does that make sense to you? It’s the police harassing them. Some of the victims might also have rap sheets. No one is going to listen to a Black person with a record about police brutality. The victims always end up being crucified, not their attackers.
Going beyond that, some will even think they deserve the abuse. We live in a society that perversely relishes the ill treatment of felons. Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona is seen as a hero by white conservatives, and not the depraved and sadistic man he is. He keeps being voted in because the white conservative populace he serves is equally depraved and sadistic. In the US, prison rape is seen as something to laugh about. “Don’t drop the soap” or “Say hi to Bubba” is what people say with a smile on their face, as if this is a joking matter. People wish for the sexual violation and abuse of prisoners. They laugh about prisoners being raped, as if being sexually violated is part of the punishment in a prison sentence. Being in prison is the punishment. Seemingly well adjusted people will joke about it.
This is a mentality we as a society have to exorcise. A good start is reading Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow”. We need to recognize everyone’s humanity. Only a twisted and depraved person enjoys someone being abused and violated, especially when that person is already in prison!
The humanity of Black life is so devalued that a Black man dying has to be captured on video before society at large momentarily pays attention, and even then the excuses will still come. If Eric Garner’s last moments weren’t captured on video, ask yourselves if this case would have received the same level of attention it did. Just ponder it. Let us also note that Mr. Garner has been in the system before (mostly minor offenses for weed and untaxed cigarettes). If there was no video, the NYPD would have used that to paint a negative picture of him, and people would use that preconceived and prejudiced picture to think that he “deserved it” and probably did something wrong, when it’s clear from the video that he did not. This is anti-Blackness and the criminality that is equated with Blackness. This type of behavior exhibited by the NYPD towards Eric Garner does not happen in white society. It is reserved for Black people.
Now officer Pantaleo has been stripped of his weapon and badge and has been put on modified duty (whatever that means). Don’t take that as some sort of victory. That is just how it goes. At most Pantaleo will lose his job and maybe even a civil suit from Eric Garner’s family, but he’s probably not going to prison for this. They will find a way for him not to be culpable. The wheels of his exoneration are already in motion. See via Gothamist below.
It’s unclear whether Pantaleo will be criminally charged, and Eugene O’Donnell, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told the Post, “If you’re the defense counsel in this case, this is very good news, because it’s consistent with what appears to be the case — that they didn’t mean to hurt him”
However, the News reports, “Another source said the likely cause of death will be a heart attack, although other actions — including the illegal takedown of Garner — ‘will probably go down as contributing factors.’”
Chokeholds are prohibited by the NYPD. Another video shows that Garner was left handcuffed for minutes while apparently not breathing.
All this is standard operating procedure for them. Not just the NYPD, but for police across the US. BART police officer Johannes Mehserle who shot a handcuffed Oscar Grant in the back as he lay on the ground only served 11 months in prison for the murder.