Castro, Gillibrand criticize de Blasio over Eric Garner case

Castro, Gillibrand criticize de Blasio over Eric Garner case
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Democratic presidential rivals went after New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio knocks Bloomberg over stop and frisk apology Deval Patrick enters 2020 race De Blasio slams Bloomberg run for president: He 'epitomizes the status quo' MORE (D) on Wednesday night for not firing Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner.

“He knew what he was doing. He was killing Eric Garner and he has not been brought to justice,” Julián Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary during the Obama administration, said during Wednesday's debate in Detroit. “That police officer should be off the streets.” 

De Blasio responded by placing blame on the Justice Department, suggesting he was told to hold off on penalizing Pantaleo while federal authorities were pursuing their case.

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The Justice Department ultimately decided against bringing federal civil rights charges against Pantaleo, who was seen on video wrapping his arms around Garner’s neck and holding him down in 2014. Garner's last words, "I can't breath," became a rallying cry for those protesting use of force policies by police departments across the country.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP rep predicts watchdog report on alleged FISA abuses will find 'problems' Barr defends Trump's use of executive authority, slams impeachment hearings GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse MORE ordered officials to drop the case earlier this month.

“I know the Garner family, they’ve gone through extraordinary pain,” de Blasio said. “They are waiting for justice and they’re going to get justice. They're going to finally get justice.”

De Blasio indicated there would be some kind of action in "30 days." He also said the New York City Police Department is “changing how we police.”

“There will never be another tragedy, there will never be another Eric Garner,” de Blasio said.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (D-N.Y.), who said she met with Garner's mother, launched into criticism of de Blasio minutes later at the debate, echoing Castro by calling for the officer’s firing.

“He should be fired now,” Gillibrand said. “If I were the mayor, I would fire him.”