By Chris Harris
August 19, 2019 03:49 PM
Joe Pantaleo
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AP/Shutterstock

Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City police officer who used an illegal chokehold that caused the death of Eric Garner while making an arrest in 2014, has been fired.

PEOPLE confirms that Pantaleo, who first joined the force in 2006, lost his job Monday morning.

Mayor Bill de Blasio held a Monday afternoon press conference, addressing Pantaleo’s termination.

“Justice has been done,” de Blasio said. “I hope today brings some small measure of closure and peace to the Garner family.”

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was approached by two NYPD officers, including Pantaleo, in Staten Island on July 17, 2014 — allegedly for selling individual cigarettes illegally.

Video footage captured of his arrest shows Garner, who was black, waving his hands in the air in protest as Pantaleo, a white man, and his partner attempted to take him to the ground.

Garner was unarmed at the time.

Other officers arrive at the scene to assist in the arrest. In the footage, Pantaleo can be seen behind Garner, throwing his left forearm around his neck. After employing the fatal chokehold, Pantaleo and the other officers dragged Garner to the pavement.

All the while, Garner’s repeated cries of “I can’t breathe” were ignored.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York determined Garner died of a homicide, ruling he died from compression to both his neck and chest.

Eric Garner
Facebook

Earlier this month, an administrative judge recommended Pantaleo be dismissed from public service. Garner’s relatives have long demanded Pantaleo be removed from the force.

In late 2014, a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo. A years-long federal investigation into Pantaleo’s actions ended in July with no charges being brought.

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PEOPLE’s attempts to reach Pantaleo and his attorney were unsuccessful Monday.

De Blasio said New York City was at a critical point in its history, and urged progress after the tragedy of Garner’s death.

“We can use a moment like this and turn it into something better, to move ourselves forward, and that is for all of us to do,” he said. “We have to do it, we have to all create something better. I see this as a sacred mission we must all take on.”

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