Before announcing Daniel Pantaleo’s firing, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill had a lengthy introduction describing the tough decisions police must often make.
“Every day in New York, people receive summons or arrested by officers without any physical force being used. But some people choose to verbally and/or physically resist the enforcement action lawfully being taken against them,” he said
“Those situations are unpredictable and dangerous to everyone involved. The street is never the right place to argue the appropriateness of an arrest. That is what our courts are for. Being a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in the world.”
O’Neill went on to explain the series of events that led to his decision today.
“No one believes that officer Pantaleo got out of bed on July 17, 2014, thinking he would make choices and take actions during an otherwise routine arrest that lead to another person’s death. But officer’s choices and actions even made under extreme pressure matter. It is unlikely that Mr. Garner thought he was in such poor help health that a brief struggle with the police would lead to his death. He should have decided against resisting arrest, but a man with a family lost his life. And that is an irreversible tragedy. And a hard-working police officer with a family and a man that took this job to do good, to make a difference in his home community has now lost his chosen career. And that is different kind of tragedy.”