Mayor De Blasio And Governor Cuomo

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Cuomo, De Blasio Weigh In On DOJ’s Eric Garner Decision

July 17, 2019 - 2:35 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Eric Garner’s family is still waiting for accountability after the Justice Department declined to charge the NYPD officer involved in his 2014 chokehold death.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the lack of prosecution a “gross injustice,” but declined to say if he thought Officer Daniel Pantaleo should be fired from the NYPD.

“That's a decision for the NYPD and New York City,” he stated.

He did acknowledge that the lingering discipline process creates and amplifies distrust in the minority community.

“When and if someone does something wrong, you know what you say, 'the person did something wrong.' That actually increases the credibility of the city and the police department,” Cuomo said

With Attorney General William Barr running President Trump's Justice Department, Cuomo says it's no surprise there were no federal charges against Pantaleo.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in on the Justice Department’s decision, saying the agency didn't do its job and he understands the pain of the Garner family.

“I regret that I trusted the United States Department of Justice, I really do,” he said.

After coming right up to the statute of limitations, Attorney General Barr made the decision himself not to charge Pantaleo.

The mayor said the city was also forced to delay its disciplinary process against Pantaleo because his administration was told by both the Obama and Trump administrations. That proceeding, which is still ongoing, could impact what federal charges they may bring.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life. They failed to act in any way for five years and what I regret was believing that the old rules still apply, they don’t,” Mayor de Blasio said.

By the end of August, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill will decide whether to fire Pantaleo from the department. He has been on desk duty since the 2014 incident.

Mayor de Blasio asked New Yorkers to withhold their judgement until that decision is made public.