Daniel Pantaleo has been named as one of the New York Police Department officers behind the death of Eric Garner in the borough of Staten Island.
Garner, 42 and a father of six, was held down by police officers on July 17 after they accused him of selling untaxed cigarettes and resisting arrest.
The situation was captured on video by Ramsey Orta. The video showed Garner being choked. Garner died. Chokeholds were banned by the NYPD in 1993.
The city’s medical examiner ruled the death a homicide on Friday.
Patrick Lynch, head of the police union, told the New York Daily News that Pantaleo is “distraught” over the death.
“No one wants to have to deal with the fact that someone died because of something they had to do. It’s a terrible loss,” Lynch added.
Garner’s family hit back, with his mother saying: “He didn’t listen to my son when he told him he couldn’t breathe. My son said it 11 times. So how could he be truly apologetic?”
Pantaleo and Justin Damico, another officer, have been stripped of guns and badges and put on desk duty.
According to documents made public online, Pantaleo was sued over an incident from 2012 for falsely arresting Rylawn Walker. The case has yet to be settled.
Another case where 43-year-old Tommy Rice says that he was wrongly strip-searched by Pantaleo, also in 2012, has come to light.
Rice told the News that he was “stunned” when he saw Pantaleo in the video.
“I went to Internal Affairs two years (ago) and they did nothing to this cop,” he said. “They let him back on the streets.”
The city settled the Rice suit for $30,000.