NYPD suspends officer who placed Eric Garner in chokehold
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The New York Police Department announced on Friday that police officer Daniel Pantaleo, the policeman blamed for the death of Eric Garner, has been suspended following a police administrative judge’s recommendation he be fired.

The department said in a statement that the officer’s suspension is a “longstanding practice in these matters when the recommendation is termination,” according to NBC News.

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“All of New York City understandably seeks closure to this difficult chapter in our City’s history," the department also said in the statement, adding that it could not make “premature statements or judgments before the process is complete.”

Deputy Police Commissioner Rosemarie Maldonado made the recommendation that Pantaleo be fired earlier Friday, leaving the final decision up to New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill as to whether the officer should be terminated.

The recommendation arrived weeks after federal prosecutors announced they would not charge the officer for the 2014 death of Garner.

In footage captured from 2014 arrest, Pantaleo could be seen placing Garner, an unarmed black man, in a headlock. At the time, Garner was being arrested on allegations of selling untaxed cigarettes. 

Garner could be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” in his final moments.

A medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Garner testified earlier this year that the officer’s chokehold led to a “lethal cascade” of events that resulted in his death.

Footage from the arrest sparked widespread protest against police brutality in the months following Garner’s death.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local officials have faced mounting pressure over the cop's ongoing employment with the police department in the years after Garner's death.

In a statement Friday, Carmen Perez, president of The Gathering for Justice who organized the #ICantBreathe campaign, said Maldonado’s decision “finally affirmed what we all saw on video: Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold.” 

"For five exhausting years since Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner with an illegal chokehold, The Gathering for Justice and Justice League NYC have stood by Eric's family in demanding that the officer responsible be held accountable,” she said.  

“Make no mistake: today is a small step towards accountability for the NYPD, but there will be no justice for the Garner family until Police Commissioner James O’Neill follows through on this recommendation,” she added.