O’Neill Responds To Union’s Call For Resignation: ‘Why Would I Walk Away?

Erica Brosnan
August 30, 2019 - 1:23 pm
Police Commissioner James O'Neill

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The largest police union in New York City on Wednesday passed a vote of no confidence in Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, saying they should lose their jobs over the firing of an officer responsible in the death of Eric Garner.

The resolutions approved by the Police Benevolent Association called for O’Neill to immediately resign, but on Friday, O’Neill told reporters that would not be happening.

“Why would I walk away? Look at where we are in New York City in 2019. Look at how much has been accomplished over the last 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 years,” he told reporters. “Why would I walk away from this?”

O’Neill reiterated that the police commissioner’s job is not an easy one, but added that his skin is “pretty thick now.”

The commissioner announced last week that “Daniel Pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer,” following his involvement in Garner’s 2014 chokehold death.

The NYPD then noted that a police supervisor involved in the chokehold death would also give up 20 vacation days to settle her disciplinary case.

The police department has confirmed that no further disciplinary actions would be taken in the Garner case – a decision that the Garner family and advocates have opposed.

“This is an affront to the citizens of the city and an insult to the family of Eric Garner. Daniel Pantaleo could not have choked Eric Garner to death without the willful inaction of those officers present. That they are not being held accountable is a blatant miscarriage of justice,” said Rev. Al Sharpton in a statement.

On Tuesday, Garner’s family asked a court to force Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill to answer questions under oath about the 2014 incident, after accusing the two of neglecting their duty in the handing of their relative’s death.